The government has said that a book on Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew is “still being studied” despite federal Islamic authorities earlier confirming that it has been placed on a list of haram books.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said the book — “Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going” — was being “examined”.
“It is under the Home Ministry... it is not haram,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
When told that the book was one of 15 listed by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) as haram, the senator replied that “this just means it is being examined by the censorship committee.”
Jakim director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha also responded to a query on why the book was declared haram by saying it had breached guidelines set by his department.
“The book is still in the process of being studied by Jakim. A study is done on a book by the censorship committee chaired by Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria if it breaches guidelines set by Jakim,” he said in a text message sent to The Malaysian Insider.
Jakim’s planning and research division confirmed earlier the decision to list “Hard Truths” as haram was made when its committee on the censorship of publications with Islamic elements met in October — nine months after the book hit the shelves in Malaysia.
Since the report was published by The Malaysian Insider yesterday afternoon, Jakim has come under fire from Internet users for being restrictive and extreme.
According to procedure, the list of books declared haram is sent to the Home Ministry for further action but it is unclear if the ministry has followed suit and banned the books.
Othman’s predecessor Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz had said in February that Lee was unsuccessful in developing the mindset of the Singapore public because he was “still influenced by the landscape of the 1960s which were full of prejudice and presumptions against Muslims.”
Lee, who served in Singapore’s Cabinet as PM, senior minister and minister mentor for 52 years before retiring in May, said in the book that Muslims in Singapore were socially “distinct and separate” and should “be less strict on Islamic observances” to aid integration and the city-state’s nation-building process.
It led to an uproar from Malay and Muslims groups on both sides of the Causeway with his old rival and former Malaysian PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad accusing Lee of having no respect for religion.
Lee later retracted his statement in March ahead of a general election in the island which has a 15 per cent Malay-Muslim population.
His son Lee Hsien Loong led the ruling People’s Action Party to its worst-ever performance in this year’s general election, gaining just 60 per cent of popular support.
Other books in the haram list include “Sebongkah Batu Di Kuala Berang” by Faisal Tehrani, “Mengenal Diri: Ilmu Peninggalan Tok Kenali” by Mohd Yusof Che Wook and “The Teachings of the Quran” by H.U. Weitbrecht Stanton.
You already says 'Haram' already, why still need to study it?
Jakim should study and examine the corruption in malaysia's Government instead of banning Singaporeans books...... Waste of time....
Flip-flopping once again! Jakim, the self-appointed Thought Control Police and the Home Ministry are so small minded that they spend valuable time and money on so trivial an issue! Malaysians are not fools nor their faith so faint that it can be shaken by a silly statment by LKY!