By Keertan Ayamany | Malay Mail

An aerial view of the Kuala Lumpur High Court April 23, 2020. — HARI ANGGARA

A local book titled Gay is OK! A Christian Perspective can now be sold in Malaysia after the High Court here quashed a ban on the book that was implemented by the Home Ministry in 2020.

Lawyer Michael Cheah Ern Tien, who represented the book’s writer Ngeo Boon Lin, confirmed that judge Datuk Noorin Badaruddin granted Ngeo and publishing company Gerakbudaya’s founder Chong Ton Sin a judicial review today.

According to the grounds of judgment shared by Cheah, the court found that there was no “evidence or legal factual basis for the minister’s justification which forms the basis of the ban” — in reference to Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.

The judge also said that it was unlikely that the book was “prejudicial to public order”, as the Home Ministry had failed to show evidence of such prejudice in the past seven years and more that the book has been in circulation.

The judgment noted that neither Ngeo nor Chong were given the right to be heard or to counter the allegations against the book, which the court considered “an irrational decision, as the book had been in circulation for some time”.

“The court awarded RM5,000 in costs to the applicants,” Cheah told Malay Mail, referring to the author Ngeo and publisher Chong.

Ngeo was also represented by lawyer Edmund Bon Tai Soon, while federal counsel Mohammad Sallehuddin Md Ali appeared for the Home Ministry.

Gay is OK! A Christian Perspective was published in September 2013.

The Home Ministry banned the book in December 2020 under section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act on grounds that it was likely to be prejudicial to public order, morality and public interest.

Ngeo and Chong gained leave from the High Court to legally challenge the ban on March 30 last year.

During hearing last November, Home Minister Hamzah claimed in an affidavit that the book could disrupt public order as it promotes homosexuality, and also has a tendency to incite the people to “hold mass protests and subsequently create chaos”.