Renowned British author Peter Mayle’s bestseller ‘Where Did I Come From’ has stoked a major controversy in Malaysia. According to reports, the Home Ministry has asked booksellers to phase out the book from shelves. The book based on sex education, published in 1984, deals with the story of a man and woman who fall in love, develop sexual relationship and eventually become parents.
Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohd Radzi, deputy secretary general to Malaysian Home Ministry, asked booksellers to put the selling of books on hold, since its content has been found ‘obscene’ and ‘offensive’. The ministry further announced that anyone found selling the book could face a fine of $6000 with three years of imprisonment. Radzi also indicated that Mayle’s book could be subjected to a possible ban under Section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984. Muhd Khairun Aseh, Datuk of Umno’s Youth also claimed to have received several complaints regarding the book from masses, who are reportedly not happy with the book’s graphic description of sexual activity between a couple. The book also has a detailed illustration of a naked man and woman to teach children, the correct and appropriate names of human anatomy.
Is it the right move?
Though individual opinion might vary and differ on certain issues yet banning an educational book only because it has sexual content displayed in form of graphics, does not seem to be a correct move. With the world getting liberalized, such harsh steps are no different than maligning efforts put in by the author and derailing the very purpose of sex education. The future of Mayle’s book in Malaysia seems to be in a deep gorge.