The Home Minister’s decision to ban the book Gay is Okay: A Christian Perspective is legal, rational, and in accordance with the law, the Court of Appeal heard today.
Senior Federal Counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambaly @ Alwi representing the Home Minister and the government of Malaysia told the three-member bench that the Home Minister was satisfied that the content of the book was likely to be prejudicial to public order, morality, and public interest.
He said book had defended, promoted, and encouraged homosexuality, adding that homosexuality is deemed immoral and not accepted by the general society in Malaysia.
He said this could be seen in the minister’s affidavit where he stated society responses to issues involving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) and objection to homosexuality.
“Homosexuals’ way of life is prohibited by all religions including Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism. This fact is reflected by the rejection towards homosexuality by the general society in Malaysia which is a multi-religious society,” said Ahmad Hanir, who was assisted by federal counsel Mohammad Salehuddin Md Ali.
He said the High Court erred in its finding when it allowed the judicial review by the publisher Chong Ton Sin and author Ngeo Boon to quash the Home Minister’s decision to ban the book.
The Home Minister and the government filed the appeal seeking to reinstate the ban which was lifted by the High Court on Feb 22, 2022.
Meanwhile, lawyer Edmund Bon Tai Soon representing Chong and Ngeo submitted that High Court judge Datuk Noorin Badaruddin was correct in her reasoning that the Home Minister failed to justify the ban on the grounds that the book is likely to be prejudicial to public order, morality, and public interest.
He said the book provided an alternative view from a Christian perspective on whether homosexuality must be opposed.
Bon, who was assisted by lawyer Michael Cheah Ern Tien, said the Home Minister read the book in a fragmented manner and did not read it as a whole and understand it from an objective point of view, adding that it was merely the Home Minister’s subjective assessment of the book.
On Feb 17, 2021, the duo filed the judicial review claiming that the ban on the book was irrational and disproportionate as no untoward incidents were triggered by the book since its publication over seven years ago.
On Dec 18, 2020, the Home Ministry had banned the book under section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.
Justices Datuk Azizah Nawawi who presided with Justices Datuk M.Gunalan and Datuk Wong Kian Kheong fixed May 25 for case management to set the decision date for the appeal.
Source: https://www.bernama.com/en/crime_courts/news.php?id=2190169. Archived at https://perma.cc/UFH4-YENX