Home Ministry bans children’s book on sex education
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — The Home Ministry today banned a classic children’s book on sex education, saying it could be detrimental to public morals.
The educational book, “Where Did I Come From?” by Peter Mayle, was first published in 1984 and tells the story of a man and a woman who meet, fall in love, have sex and become parents.
Ministry deputy secretary-general in charge of security Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohd Radzi announced the ban under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, just a day after ordering a temporary halt to the book’s sales to study if the content could harm the nation’s “moral.”
Under the Act, anyone found guilty of circulating and distributing the book can be jailed up to three years, fined up to RM20,000 or both.
Abdul Rahim had hinted that the book would likely be banned yesterday.
“If the contents are found to have elements that could harm the moral of the community, we would ban it,” he was quoted as saying by The Star.
Umno Youth’s Datuk Muhd Khairun Aseh claimed to have received many complaints from the public about the book’s graphic description of love-making between two people. The book has illustrations of a naked man and woman and teaches children proper anatomical names.
“The degree of obscenity inside the book was too much,” he was quoted as saying by the English-language daily yesterday.
“This is a violation of Section 292 of the Penal Code, which deals with distribution or sale of pornographic materials. We believe that some 200 million copies of the book have been printed since it was published in 1997,” said the head of the Umno Youth’s community complaints bureau.
Muhd Khairun added that the book may be considered suitable for children in the author’s home country but not those in Malaysia.
Mayle is a British author who has written a series of educational books for children and young people, including “Where Did I Come From?”
Among his other titles are 1975’s “What’s Happening to Me? The Answers to Some of the World’s Most Embarrassing Questions” illustrated by Arthur Robins and Paul Walter; 1976’s “Will I Go to Heaven?” and “How to Be a Pregnant Father: An Illustrated Survival Guide for the First-time Father” published in 1977.