Local author and educator Benz Ali expressed how the Home Ministry officials “stole” his books in the store and said that the books weren’t even on the list of banned books in Malaysia.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN) raided Toko Buku Rakyat, a bookstore at Wisma Central owned by local author and educator Benz Ali.
As reported by Malaysiakini, the officials raided the store yesterday (18 Aug) at 4 pm. They confiscated two books – Marx: Sang Pendidik Revolusioner, a Malay translation of Karl Marx: The Revolutionary as Educator by Robin Small, and a copy of Benz Ali’s poetry collection called Koleksi Puisi Masturbasi (Collection of Masturbatory Poems).
He said the authorities took one copy of each of the two titles, mentioning the Printing Press and Publications Act 1984, an act to control all types of publications, whether printed in the country or imported from abroad.
Both books were not listed in the banned books list, and Benz was utterly disappointed by their actions. In fact, he called them stealing his books. He claimed that they didn’t even conduct a thorough investigation as to why those books were confiscated.
“You can’t do this… What’s more, under the leadership of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. This is just like the previous BN (Barisan Nasional) government,” he said to Malaysiakini.
I sell books that are not listed in the banned book list. If you (the authorities) are suspicious, you should come, buy the book, and conduct an investigation until you’re satisfied.Benz Ali
When you seize books that have no problems and do not return them, that means you stole. It’s a robbery, you take it through haram ways.
According to Malay Mail, Karl Marx: The Revolutionary as Educator book describes the story of German-born philosopher Marx’s radical ideas about education. Meanwhile, the other book that Benz wrote himself, “Collection of Masturbatory Poems,” is actually not about sex but about self-satisfactory intellectual discussions.
okey.. kita kongsi benda lain dulu… rampasan buku kat kedai aku di era Madanon♬ Faded (Instrumental) – Alan Walker
Fahmi Redzha even created a poster in solidarity with Benz
Fahmi Redza, the well-known graphic designer and political activist, even made a poster about the situation, drawing two KDN officials holding two books in a fiery background, with the words “Rampas Tetap Rampas” or confiscating is still taking away what’s not rightfully theirs.
A lot of people stood in solidarity with Benz Ali.
They gave support by tagging him in their Facebook postings, condemning the actions of the Home Ministry.
Besides that, the Lawyers of Liberty (LFL) group even said that the raid was unlawful, unconstitutional and reckless.
“The government has no right to simply seize any publication that it deems inappropriate without going through the very process enumerated in section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (PPPA), which states that any order by the minister to ban publications must be gazetted before it can have the force of law.
“Neither of the books has been banned under the PPPA,” said LFL director, Zaid Malek, in a statement earlier today (19 Aug).
Who is Benz Ali?
Benz Ali, also known by his full name Amir Hamzah Akal Ali is a local author who is courageous in expressing his views, which mainly focus on current economic issues, religion, politics, way of thinking and many more.
He also owns a bookstore called Toko Buku Rakyat in Wisma central Ampang.
To date, he has published more than 10 books and you can view the titles all on Goodreads. The titles include Antithesis, Anticonformity, Jalan Kiri Menuju Syurga (Left-Headed Path To Paradise) and M.A.H.A.T.H.I.R.