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Dont deny public access to May 13 book

I refer to the malaysiakini report Ministry seizes controversial May 13 book .

As a Malaysian citizen who wants the country's democratic space widened and human rights respected, I feel extremely upset to learn that the Ministry of Internal Security has confiscated copies of the book on the May 13 episode written by Dr Kua Kia Soong.

This is an act that is definitely contrary to the open and transparent society that our prime minister wants promoted. As I have said many a time before, dissent and contrarian views must be allowed on any issue, event and incident if Malaysia is to progress towards a developed status.

Kua's book on the May 13 racial riots is based on erstwhile classified records and information that have since been declassified. It is not therefore a book that is concocted but is based on historical records.

Of course, one can disagree with his analysis and viewpoints. If so, one should then engage in a debate with him. But at no time must his book be confiscated and the public denied access to his book.

Unfortunately, this is what is being done. As a result, the freedom to write and speak is once again being curtailed. It looks like the fear of many is coming true in that the government only wants its official version and views on various issues such as the struggle for independence and May 13 disseminated.

But this clearly cannot be accepted. Therefore, all those who want our society to progress must stand up and call on the government to immediately stop this act of confiscation and have the book released for sale.

The writer is Penang executive councillor member.