On Friday, 13 October 2017, G25 through our lawyers filed an application for leave to apply for judicial review at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur to quash the ban of our book, “Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation – Islam in a Constitutional Democracy”.
The ban, signed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on 14 June 2017 and gazetted on 27 July 2017, came 19 months after the book’s launch on 5 December 2015 which was officiated by YBM Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
Since its ban, G25 has tried to get the ban removed without resorting to judicial review. We have sent a request to remove the ban in a letter to the Minister of Home Affairs, and have requested meetings with the Minister through former Prime Minister and author of the book’s foreword, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s office. We received no response.
We are still baffled as to why the book was banned, having been kept in the dark on the grounds for the ban and the parts which are deemed “prejudicial to public order and cause alarm to public opinion”. This is especially when the purpose of the book is merely to explore the concept of moderation in Islam, in the context of Malaysia as a constitutional democracy with a national aspiration to be a fully developed country and a model for the Muslim world.
G25 aims, through its statements and in this book, to educate the public that for peace, stability, and economic progress, moderation in politics and religion must be practised, and the principles of good governance in the administration of the country must be adopted.
In light of the ban of our book and many others which have followed since, one is forced to ask the question that if a book on moderation, written by experts, academics, and scholars is banned, what else will follow? We fear that moderation will now be the new taboo on intellectual discussions and academic writings.
G25 will continue in its efforts to promote discourse and knowledge sharing on issues of public interest in the practice of Islam and good governance, all of which will eventually impact the economic performance of the country.