KUALA LUMPUR: The author of a pro-China comic book has resigned as the CEO of the Malaysia-China Business Council (MCBC) on Thursday (Oct 24), a day after Malaysia’s Home Ministry banned the publication for "promoting communism and socialism”.
Without mentioning the saga over his book Belt and Road Initiative for Win Winism, Dr Hew Kuan Yau said in a statement that his decision was final.
“During my tenure as the CEO over the past eight months, I have devoted myself to strengthening economy and trade, and promoting people-to-people bonds and cultural exchanges between Malaysia and China so as to better connect to the Belt and Road Initiative.
“My intention was to open more resources for the establishment of a modernised Malaysia as the country has been hollowed out by the kleptocracy of the previous government,” said Dr Hew, a former member of the Democratic Action Party (DAP).
The comic book was released earlier this year in conjunction with the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China.
It made headlines last week after former prime minister Najib Razak revealed on his Facebook that the publication, which he described as propaganda for the DAP, were distributed to school libraries.
Najib was featured in the book for his alleged involvement in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal.
Education Minister Maszlee Malek responded by ordering that the books be withdrawn from schools, prompting Dr Hew to accuse the minister of dancing to Najib’s tune.
A group of 43 DAP grassroots members have released a statement defending Dr Hew.
Dr Hew, nicknamed Superman, is known for his fiery speeches at political rallies.
He resigned from DAP in 2016 after courting controversy for saying that South China Sea belongs to China, but continued to campaign for the party.
In February this year, he was made CEO of MCBC, a government-linked organisation and the Malaysian counterpart of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
COMIC BOOK TO BE SEIZED
On Thursday, Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in parliament that the ministry would seize copies of the banned comic book if it was still in circulation.
He said the ministry had studied the comic in detail and found that it tried to promote communism and socialism.
“There is a strong basis. The ban was not due to any sentiment or action against any other parties.
“It is based on its content, especially when it was distributed to schools,” he said.
The foreword in the comic book was penned by Mr Lim Guan Eng, the Finance Minister and secretary-general of DAP.
A copy of the book was presented to Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing in April.
While a photo showed Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad standing next to Mr Xi, who was reading the book, the Prime Minister’s Office had clarified that it was not an official gift.
The office said in a statement on Friday that "the book was brought in without the proper procedure and channel".
“The prime minister is not involved in the publication of the comic book, or is aware of its content,” it added.