By Hidir Reduan Abdul Rashid | Malaysiakini

An author will know on Feb 22 whether he succeeds in his legal action to remove the ban over his book Gay is OK! A Christian Perspective.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court today set the date for the decision on the judicial review by Ngeo Boon Lin as well as publisher Gerakbudaya Enterprise.

The two applicants’ counsel Michael Cheah Ern Tien confirmed that judge Noorin Badaruddin fixed the verdict date, after having heard submissions from the parties’ legal teams during the hearing earlier today.

“The court has fixed Feb 22 at 12pm for decision regarding the Gay is OK book ban,” the lawyer told Malaysiakini this afternoon.

On Feb 17 last year, the author and publisher filed the judicial review bid, contending the ban was irrational as no untoward incidents were triggered following the book’s publication eight years ago.

On Dec 18, 2020, Bernama reported that the Home Ministry gazetted a prohibition order effective Nov 27, 2020 for two publications, among them, being the book Gay is OK! A Christian Perspective under section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

The Ministry’s Chief Secretary Wan Ahmad Dahlan Abdul Aziz reportedly said the publication had been banned for content that might be detrimental to public order, morals, and public interest.

However, in an affidavit filed on May 27 last year, Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin contended that despite no untoward incidents happening over the now eight-year period since the book’s publication, the book still amounted to the promotion of homosexuality, which could still jeopardise public order and public interest in Malaysia.

His affidavit was part of the response against the legal action.

The minister and the Malaysian government are the two respondents in the judicial review.

Today’s hearing before the High Court was over the merits of the judicial review proper.

On March 30 last year, the court granted leave to the two applicants to proceed with the legal action.

The leave was given following no objections raised by the Attorney General’s Chambers which represents the minister and federal government in the matter.