KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 ― The Home Ministry confirmed today that it has banned the Bahasa Malaysia version of the comic book Ultraman the Ultra Power over the use of the word “Allah”.
In a two-page statement this morning, the ministry said the ban was imposed on this particular translation of the book as it had equated the character Ultraman King to “Allah”, which is the Arabic word for God.
“KDN (the ministry) imposed the ban on this publication because Ultraman is idolised by children and can confuse them on the characteristics of 'Allah' which had been equated to Ultraman King,” the ministry said.
The statement highlighted the particular paragraph bearing the offensive reference; “Ultraman King adalah Ultra yang paling berkuasa dalam alam semesta di papar garis universe.
Beliau adalah yang tertua Ultra, purba sebelum setiap ultra lain yang diketahui dilahirkan. Dalam tahun 2009 filem Monster Mega Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend The Movie, beliau dianggap sebagai dan dihormati sebagai ‘Allah’ atau Elder semua wira Ultra”.
(Ultraman King is the most powerful Ultra in the universe. He is the oldest Ultra, ancient before every other ultra that is known was born. In the 2009 film Monster Mega Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend The Movie, he was considered and respected as “Allah” or Elder to all Ultra heroes.)
“This issue raises concerns that it could affect the faith of Muslim children by equating Allah with Ultraman.
“Allah is sacred to Muslims and could spark provocation of Muslims if misused by irresponsible parties. If this is not prevented, it could upset public order and the public psyche,” the statement read.
The ministry noted that the publisher of the banned translated version of the comic book, Resign Publications, did not have a publishing permit and gave a false address.
The printer, Network Printers, neither had a printing license nor did it provide any address in the book as required by law.
The owners of both companies face the possibility of a three-year jail term, a RM20,000 fine or both if found guilty of publishing banned material under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.
“It must be stressed that the Ultraman character is not banned but the ban order is imposed only on the comic titled Ultraman the Ultra Power over its content that contravenes the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984,” the ministry said.
The ministry announced the ban on March 6, though the reasons were initially unclear.
Ultraman is a fictional Japanese superhero who fights “Kaiju” (monsters), and first appeared on television in the 1960s.
It later gained popularity worldwide, including in Malaysia, leading to localised versions of the TV series and comic books.