The educational book, “Where Did I Come From?” by Peter Mayle, was first published in 1984 and tells the story of a man and woman who meet, fall in love, have sex and become parents.
The ministry’s deputy secretary-general Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohd Radzi said it had ordered a temporary halt to the book’s sales to study if the content could harm the community’s “moral.”
“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.
Abdul Rahim said the ministry was acting under Section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984 .
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 the proper names of the various parts of the anatomy.
“The degree of obscenity inside the book was too much,” he was quoted as saying by the English-language daily.
“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 has 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 it was not suitable for 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.