Publisher and analyst can now challenge unlawful book seizure

By M. Mageswari, The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: A political analyst and a book publisher succeeded in their bid to get a court order to challenge the Home Minister, police and Government over the unlawful seizure of 33 books last year.

High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Rohana Yusuf granted the leave application on grounds there was an arguable case.

Justice Rohana also dismissed a preliminary objection raised by the Attorney-General’s Chambers against the leave application after hearing submissions by parties in chambers yesterday.

The applicants’ were represented by K. Shanmuga while Senior Federal Counsel Noor Hisham Ismail acted for the respondents.

Speaking to reporters later, Shanmuga said the A-G’s Chambers has raised a preliminary objection against the leave application on grounds that it was frivolous and vexatious.

Shanmuga said the court has set Feb 24 for mention of substantive application of the judicial review.

Yong Thye Chong, also known by his pen name Kim Quek, was the author of the 361-page book The March to Putrajaya: Malaysia’s New Era Is At Hand which was banned on Sept 27 last year as being prejudicial to public order.

Yong, 73, claimed that the reasons for the ban implied that the book contained falsehoods, could arouse anxiety and anger among Malaysians, jeopardise the image of the Government and would incite hatred for the Federal Constitution.

He and the book’s publisher Oriengroup Sdn Bhd filed a judicial review application to quash the order in relation to the seizure.

The applicants said they were not given an opportunity to be heard before the minister banned the book.

They named the Home Minister, Inspector-General of Police, Asst Supt Zul Azhar Mokhtar, Chief Inspector Nahar Yamen, Asst Supt Mohd Fahmi Daraman Sah and the Government as respondents.

The applicants are seeking a declaration that the seizure of the books on Aug 19 last year at four locations was invalid and contravened various provisions of the Federal Constitution.