Comic Author Gets Leave To Challenge When I Was A Kid 3 Ban


Cheeming Boey has obtained leave from a civil court to proceed with his bid to quash the Home Ministry ban against the controversial comic book “When I Was A Kid 3”.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court allowed the author’s judicial review leave application on Jan 31, paving the way for future hearing of the merits of the legal action.
When contacted by Malaysiakini today, Boey’s legal representative Clinton Tan confirmed the outcome of the bid filed on Dec 12 last year.
On June 27 last year, dozens of Indonesians gathered outside the Malaysian embassy to protest the sale and printing of the comic book over allegations that one of its pages denigrated an Indonesian maid working in Malaysia.
Following the public outcry, Malaysia’s Home Ministry gazetted the ban under Section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 on Sept 25 last year.
In a media statement, the ministry said the comic book was banned because the publication poses harm to morals, public interest, and state interests by causing concern and unrest in the community.
Last year, Boey, 45, apologised over the matter, saying he never intended to offend.
No issue for years
The Malaysian citizen, who was born in Singapore and domiciled in the United States, told The Malay Mail that he believed the ban on his book came after the Indonesian protest and was a case of misinterpretation, or in some cases, taken completely out of context.
According to a copy of the affidavit in support of the judicial review sighted by Malaysiakini, Boey pointed out that the comic book was published back on Jan 1, 2014, before the ministry ban over nine years later.
“To the best of my knowledge, up until June 2023, neither I nor the publisher received and/or was made aware of any complaints against the content of the publication or that any part of it was considered offensive by any segment of society.
“I was therefore surprised on June 26, 2023, when a netizen pointed me to a social media post, that there was a demonstration in front of the Embassy of Malaysia in Jakarta, Indonesia, against my publication.
“I was neither previously approached by the authorities nor made aware of any part that angered the Indonesian public,” Boey said.
Indonesians protesting the comic book in front of the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, on June 27, 2023The author claimed that he was neither informed of the order nor issued a show-cause letter for him to be allowed to explain himself on the allegations linked to the comic book.
Financial losses, threats
Boey contended that he suffered financial loss following the ban and the resulting withdrawal of the comic book from Malaysian bookstores last year.
“In the period in question, I have unfortunately endured personal attacks and harmful threats to both me and my family.
“Several influencers from Indonesia also edited my comic to only show the first four frames of the comic to suit their agendas.
“News channels also did not show my full comic, cropping only the first four frames.
“My apology was published right after the first four frames, which made it look like I was in the wrong,” Boey said.
Besides seeking an order of certiorari to quash the ban order, the applicant also seeks damages that he suffered from the alleged unlawful ministry order.
Malaysiakini is seeking a response from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), who represents the unnamed home minister who is the respondent targeted by the judicial review. - Mkini

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