Rafidah Aziz: Wrong for anyone to call for Thomas’ book ban

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Not wrong for people to have their own interpretation of historical events, especially when it comes from a political perspective.

No one has the right to call for a ban against Tommy Thomas’ book, said Rafidah Aziz.

“Thomas has written his memoir. We may have different views, but that does not give anyone the right to call for banning the book,” the former international trade and industry ministry said in a Facebook post.

The former attorney-general’s memoir titled My Story: Justice in the Wilderness has ruffled feathers after numerous figures named in it, like former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former attorney-general Apandi Ali and former prime minister Najib Razak, who disputed Thomas’ version of certain events.

Thomas is also facing investigations after dozens of police reports were lodged against his memoir, while his critics have called for the book to be banned, which has become a bestseller and is awaiting third print.

“It’s a worrying trend when there is no room for dissent, and diversity of views.

“Of course, we cannot condone seditious acts, and libellous actions, but then again, no one has taken real action on some misdeeds, and misinterpretation of facts by some people…although they have gone viral,” Rafidah said.

She said a memoir was a historical account, or biography, based on personal knowledge and the person’s view.

“Sometimes the same thing can be viewed very differently by different people,” she said.

“I don’t want to comment on the legalese as I am not a lawyer but it is important to remember that any person who writes his or her personal memoir cannot be forced to view things from the readers’, analysts’ or commentators’ viewpoints,” she said.

She also questioned why certain quarters were in a rush to take legal action or lodge police reports against the book, or even call for its ban.

“Are we turning into a dictatorship? Are we behaving like cooks in the hot kitchen who cannot stand the heat?” she said.

Rafidah added it was not wrong for people to have their own interpretation of historical events, especially when it comes from a political perspective.

Sharing her own take on the book, Rafidah said she had mixed feelings over the book, including feeling upset, disappointed and a good dose of relief.

“Thomas’ memoir can add to the collection of diverse views on some events of the past. Facts cannot be denied. Do read the book,” she said. – TMI

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