KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 ― Several grassroots groups and activists today criticised the detention of Siti Noor Aishah Atam, a former student found in possession of 12 books allegedly linked to terrorism.
In a joint statement, 84 groups and 27 activists said they were concerned over what they called repression of arts and culture in the country, including the recent banning of 19 books by the Home Ministry last week.
“We strongly reject the infantilisation of culture by repressing public arts and culture activities by using cruel oppressive Acts,” the statement said.
Among signatories of the statement were movements such as Buku Jalanan, Frinjan, Five Arts Centre and Malaysia Design Archive, publishers Moka Mocha Ink and Cukong Press, and bookstore Kedai Buku Mak Ali.
Siti Noor Aishah, 29, was detained using the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) on March 27, and is now being held at the Kajang Prison.
Siti Noor Aishah was arrested when she appeared at the Kuala Lumpur High Court following the deputy public prosecutor’s appeal against the High Court decision to acquit and discharge her last September.
In March last year, Siti Noor Aishah was arrested for the first time under Section 130JB of the Penal Code and Sosma for possession of 12 books allegedly linked to terrorism.
Last week, the Home Ministry issued a prohibition order on 19 publications it deemed detrimental to the Malaysian society, and three it found to contain misleading information about Islam.