By Bernama

The publisher and writer of the book, Gay is OK! A Christian Perspective are seeking leave to appeal to the Federal Court to remove a ban imposed by the government following a ruling by the Court of Appeal.

The matter was confirmed by lawyer Edmund Bon Tai Soon, who acted for Gerakbudaya publisher Chong Ton Sin and author Ngeo Boon Lin.

He said 11 legal and constitutional questions had been filed to obtain leave from the Federal Court for the merit of the complaint to be heard.

“The leave application will be heard on Feb 28 next year,” he said in a statement on Tuesday (Dec 26).

On Sept 25, the Court of Appeal allowed the Home Minister and the Malaysian government’s appeal to reinstate its order to ban the said book.

A three-member panel of judges comprising Justices Azizah Nawawi, M.Gunalan and Wong Kian Kheong, in a majority decision, allowed the duo’s (Home Minister and the Malaysian Government) appeal to set aside the High Court decision.

Justices Azizah and Wong made the majority decision in favour of the Home Minister and the Malaysian Government while Justice Gunalan dissented.

In the majority decision, Justice Wong said he and Justice Azizah had gone through the contents of the book and its title and on an objective evaluation, they were satisfied that the book’s entire contents and its title gave a general message that the lifestyle of homosexuality is not prohibited by Christianity.

He said the judges who decided the majority decision were satisfied that a reasonable minister would reach the decision of the likelihood of the book being prejudicial to public order, morality and public interest.

He said even though there were no untoward incidents for a period of more than seven years from September 2013, the date of publication of the book, until the gazette of the ban, this does not disabuse the existence of the likelihood of prejudicial to public order, morality and public interest.

Justice Wong said under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, it was not necessary to give the book publisher and author the right to be heard. He also said section 7 of the Act did not require the Home Minister to give reasons for the ban, adding that in any event, the Home Minister had provided reasons in the gazette to ban the book.

In his dissenting decision, Justice Gunalan said the High Court judge Noorin Badaruddin did not err when she allowed the respondents’ judicial review. He said the judge had given adequate consideration to the facts and circumstances as a whole and had correctly applied the principles of law before coming to her decision to allow the judicial review.

On Feb 22, last year, the High Court allowed a judicial review brought by the duo to quash the order issued by the Home Minister to ban the book.

On Dec 18, 2020, the Home Ministry banned the book under section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act.

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.

The High Court lifted the ban prompting the Home Minister and the Malaysian Government to appeal to the Court of Appeal.