Appeal against judgment to ban the book: “The March to Putrajaya”

Kim Quek

My lawyers, Kanesalingam & Co, filed on Feb 24 the memorandum of appeal against the High Court judgment dismissing the judicial review filed by me earlier over the banning and seizure of my book “The March to Putrajaya”.

High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) Judge Rohana Yusuf had earlier given her oral judgment on 14th July 2011, and her written judgment was released three weeks ago. A copy is attached.

Whilst I accept that the High Court has decided against me, I am nonetheless appealing to the Court of Appeal against the Judge’s decision. It seems to me that while the Judge has given full weight to the Minister’s many allegations against me, she has given no consideration of my evidence to debunk the Minister’s allegations.  Neither does she seem to me to have given due consideration to my lawyer’s legal submissions.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has, in his affidavit, accused me of having made unfounded criticism in my book against the government.  He said my articles are seditious, vilifying the institutions and the political leadership, creating racial animosity and inciting hatred against the government.  In short, I have undermined the administration and endangered peace, according to the Minister.

In my reply through my affidavit, I have made a point-by-point rebuttal to the Minister’s allegations, attaching to my affidavit with more than 500 pages of documents consisting of news reports, commentaries, analysis and research materials, upon which I based my articles.  I have also in my affidavit quoted extensively from my articles to demonstrate that my report and analysis are based on true facts and rational and honest appraisals.  And that contrary to the Minister’s accusation, I have consistently called for respect to the Federal Constitution and rule of law, promoted racial harmony, and made constructive criticism with a view to improve on governance.  In short, I have established that the Minister’s accusations against me are false.

The Minister has not shown a single incidence of breach of peace or a threat to public order. There have been no riots, public disturbances or trouble caused by my Book. There have instead been public outcry and criticisms against the injustices perpetrated by the ruling Government and it is this I believe that motivated the ban by the Minister against my Book.  It is to silence legitimate criticism against an unjust Government and to stifle the democratic processes and constitutional liberties of citizens including the right to disseminate and receive information.

These should be the issues that the Court should have looked into, and found wanting.

I believe Justice Rohana’s decision has set a bad precedent for the development of civil and political rights in Malaysia, and this is why I am appealing to the Court of Appeal.  

As it currently stands, as long as a Minister, in his mind, thinks that a Book ought to be banned and justifies it with a vague reason unsupported by any evidence, the Book can be banned. He is accountable to no one.

I had also made an application earlier to quash the seizure of my books from various book stores around the country. This application was dismissed merely because the Judge held that the process was part of the “investigations” of the police, and therefore not amenable to judicial review. In short, the police can now go into any premise and take as much as they want of any book in the guise of “investigations”. They too seem to be accountable to no one.  

I fear that the High Court’s decision paves the way for a Police State. It offers free reign to arbitrariness, tyranny and oppression by the ruling Government. It allows the Minister of Home Affairs to stifle political dissent and political criticism in the guise of public order.  

I hope the Court of Appeal sets this right.