We have been informed that Barry Wain’s book, “Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times”, apparently has been held up by Malaysian authorities.
If this is true, then it is nothing short of a crude and reckless censorship – although indirect, the effect is the same. It very undemocratically denies Malaysians reading material that should be made freely available to all and sundry. This book is of particular interest to citizens who are appalled by the disclosure that under Mahathir RM100 billion could have been squandered. They have been waiting anxiously to find out how this atrocity involving a mammoth, mind-boggling amount could have happened without anybody commenting on this extravagance.
In an age of globalisation and advanced information and communications technology, it is downright stupidity and an affront to the intelligence of right thinking Malaysians to place such an obstruction on freedom of information and ideas by the Malaysian authorities.
Malaysians should not be denied their right to have access to material that critically comments on Malaysia’s recent history and of its past leaders from a wide range of perspectives. Their right to make their own judgement and assessment of things past and present must be respected and honoured in a country that claims to be very democratic. Otherwise, we shall be exposed as a sham democracy.
We call on the government to desist from pretending to be a moral guardian when its action is nothing but immoral. We also call on Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein to confirm if the book has indeed been held up, confiscated or banned.
Aliran Executive Committee
17 December 2009