The Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) has instructed the police to look into a book with a cover that is believed to be a mockery of the Malaysian coat of arms
The book, titled Rebirth: Reformasi, Resistance, And Hope In New Malaysia, is a collection of articles, essays, and political analysis about the 14th General Election.
Published in January, before the change of government, the cover of the book features a crocodile and a pale face with a naked baby sitting on top of it while being flanked by two tigers bearing human faces.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said the book has violated the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act 1963
Citing Section 3(1)(a) of the Act, he said it is an offence to imitate the Malaysian coat of arms, which represents the government.
"I have asked the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) to investigate and take strict action immediately," he said in a Facebook statement today, 29 June.
"The government will not compromise against any party that takes such unpatriotic and irresponsible acts."
Earlier, a report by The Star quoted Bukit Aman CID deputy director Deputy Commissioner Mior Faridalathrash Wahid as saying that they will call up the author, editor, and publisher of the book for questioning.
The controversy surrounding the book was first brought to light by UMNO Youth chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki
Asyraf urged MOHA to take action against the people behind the book for insulting the national emblem.
"The cover of the book clearly showed the author's disrespect for the dignity of the coat of arms," he said.
"Stern action should be taken if there was an intention to insult the nation's official symbol."
At the time of writing, book publisher ILHAM Books had distanced itself from the book, explaining that it was not them but Gerakbudaya who published the book.
"We are not even involved in the publication process of the book. We are just a bookstore that sells local and international books online as well as at physical bookstores," ILHAM Books said in a Facebook statement today.
"Since the book is embroiled in controversy, we have removed the link of the book on our Facebook. We apologise if it causes any inconvenience to certain parties."
The book is also being sold at RM36 on Shopee, in conjunction with the Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair (KLIBF).
In November last year, the Malaysia Basketball Association (MABA) came under fire for displaying an incorrect flag during an event: