The Malaysian Home Minister has banned a controversial comic book on the Belt & Road Initiative on grounds that it promotes Communism & Socialism.
In a statement, the Ministry also said the book, titled, “Belt & Road Initiative for Win Winism”, also contained factual errors. “The contents of the book can be detrimental to public order and safety.”
The 164 page comic book, produced by Hew Kuan Yau, a former DAP Member, drew criticism after news that 2,500 copies in Bahasa Malaysia were distributed to school libraries as reference material.
Among those critical of Hew, who is also known as “Superman”, were PPBM Youth leader Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman and Education Minister Maszlee Malik, who barred the book from being distributed to schools. Hew was also accused of racism for calling those who sympathised with the plight of the Uighur Minority in China “extremists”.
The Home Ministry added that the comic book had elements that may encourage support and sympathies for the communist struggle, and that there were concerns that it may also divide the citizens.
“It can also cause doubts among readers, in particular the younger generation, about Malaysia’s history and questions the efforts and struggles of previous national leaders towards independence and in developing the nation.
“The contents of the publication are seen as ignoring the sensitivities of Malaysian citizens who are multiracial & multi-religious”
According to the statement, the ban was made under Section 8(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (or 301 Act).
Under the law, any act of printing, importing, reproducing, publishing, selling, distributing or owning the book will be made permanently forbidden in the country.
The home ministry also warned that under Section 8(2) of the Act, individuals who were found guilty of printing, importing, producing, reproducing, distributing, offering to sell, and owning the book may be jailed not more than three years, or fined not more than RM20,000, or both.
Today, the Director of the Criminal Investigation Department at Bukit Aman, Huzir Mohamed, said more individuals were expected to be called in for questioning. Huzir said police were also working with historians to check the accuracy of historical facts in the book.
All three versions of the work in Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and English have been seized.