According to Malay Mail, police have raided the premises of local book publisher Gerakbudaya for using an artwork for the cover of the book Rebirth: Reformasi, Resistance, and Hope in New Malaysia. Those who made complaints and police reports alleged that the artwork insulted the coat of arms (Jata Negara) of Malaysia.
The controversial book cover shows a woman’s face with a baby sitting on top wearing the crescent and star, and two tigers with humanoid faces standing on top of a crocodile. The book was published at the beginning of 2020, prior to former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s resignation.
Gerakbudaya’s director and founder Chong Ton Sin stated that the cover image was taken from a painting that was produced and displayed at an exhibition in the state of Sarawak many years ago. Usage for the artwork was arranged between the artist and book editor, Kean Wong.
He even apologised over the matter by saying, “We did not have any intention to insult anyone with the book cover or any ill intention for using the image… We were being insensitive, and we will take this as a lesson and will be more sensitive in the future”.
Bukit Aman yesterday confirmed the seizure of 313 books for alleged violation of several laws, including the Sedition Act, following complaints that started from Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusukifrom UMNO, a ruling party from Perikatan Nasional on Facebook.
According to Malaysiakini, 21 police reports were also lodged on the alleged desecration of Malaysia’s national symbol by several officials including UMNO Youth chief of Kuala Lumpur Mohamed Nizam Abdullah Hamidi, PAS treasurer Faizzudin Zai, and various others.
Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin said the book has violated the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act 1963. Under Section 3(1)(a), use of “any specified name or specified emblem, or any colourable imitation thereof, for the purpose of any trade, business, calling or profession” are prohibited.
The book in question is actually a collection of articles, reports, and political analysis surrounding Malaysia’s 14th General Election back in 2018 when Pakatan Harapan defeated Barisan Nasional.
“More than a year after ordinary Malaysians did the extraordinary and voted out a government in power since 1957, a raw reality has set in. On the eve of a once-idealised ‘Vision 2020’ of modern Malaysia, Rebirth: Reformasi, Resistance, and Hope in New Malaysia questions an uncertain nation’s possible futures,” the book’s description on Gerakbudaya’s website read.
The description, that has now been taken down, also said, “Was Malaysia saved from kleptocracy by the world’s oldest prime minister, and does it finally transform itself into a sustainable democracy with another longstanding putative leader? Is there a younger generation of Malaysians with the gumption to make that difference? These are the questions that inform this book”.
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