Kim Quek’s press statement on the confiscation of his book

It has come to my knowledge that on last Thursday, 19th of August, police officers had raided bookshops in many parts of the country to confiscate my book “The March to Putrajaya”.  They did so without giving any reason and without issuing any official document.  Neither has there been any public statement accounting for this operation.

Upon inquiry by Malaysiakini, Home Ministry’s Publications Control and Quranic Text secretary Zaitun Samad said that the Ministry was not responsible for any seizure of the book, adding “perhaps the police took those books, but not us” as quoted by a Malaysiakini news report on August 21st.

Under these circumstances, such police operation is clearly illegal, as it constitutes “trespassing” and “theft”, since there were neither search warrants nor known legal ground to back up such action.

I can conceive of no justifiable ground for the authorities to act against my book.  The book is essentially a collection of my articles which contain materials that are factual and truthful as far as I know.  And they have been published over the past few years by Malaysiakini, Malaysia Today and several other websites, as well as Suara Keadilan. Hence, the substance therein has been for a long time in the domain of the public, which, I would like to believe, include the relevant government authorities.

If my articles contain falsehood or illegal elements that have endangered public security or caused injury to any party, I would have expected the injured party to have protested or acted against me.  But there has been none.

Even if I have lied and injured any party, the correct thing to do is to sue me for defamation.  Harassing the bookshops to sabotage the sale of my book is surely a response that is legally and morally wrong. 

Regarding Puan Zaitun’s statement that the Home Ministry was not responsible for this seizure of books, I regret to state that this answer is not satisfactory. The Home Minister’s portfolio clearly includes the police department, and as such, the Minister is answerable to the Cabinet, Parliament and to the public for the conduct of the Police.

What strikes me as strange in this instant is that the control of undesirable publication, which is a function under the Division of Publication Control and Quranic Text in the Home Ministry, should now be taken over by the police, which should amount to usurpation of the Ministry’s authority – judging from Puan Zaitun’s claim of ignorance of this police operation.  The police had no business to interfere into the sales of my book, unless criminal offence has been committed.

What is even more deplorable is the lawless manner with which the police had carried out their work.   It must be clearly understood that illegally confiscating properties on such a large scale is a serious infringement of the law, more so when it is committed by the police, who ironically are the very people who should be protecting the public from such infringement. 

Confiscating my books without legal ground is also a violation of the Constitution, as my right of freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution has been transgressed.

I would like to believe that, despite our battered reputation as a democratic country, we still have laws, and as such, the police are not above the law.

The current police incursion into the Constitution and the laws is certainly a matter of grave concern to the public.

I therefore call upon the Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Seri Hishammudin Tun Hussein, to make a public statement clarifying the Ministry’s stand on my book and the true state of affairs within his ministry over the current incident.

Kim Quek