NLB to improve processes after withdrawal of controversial Malay books

While giving his reaction on the issue of withdrawal of a series of Malay books with controversial contents, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim today said, “It is not possible for the National Library Board (NLB) to scrutinise every book on the shelves of public libraries.”

Yacoob Ibrahim,
Yacoob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information of Singapore. Photo courtesy:

He added, “But the board will learn from this latest episode and continue to improve its processes. NLB also relies on feedback from members of the public to flag any potentially controversial reading material in the public libraries, given the volume of books it processes.”

The Minister was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the launch of a festival to promote reading.

He said, “We can never be 100 per cent foolproof, but we learn from this experience. We are glad that a member of the public has (given us feedback) and we have done our part and we will continue to review our processes.”

A local twitter user first flagged off the controversial books posting photos of their controversial content on Sunday.

It is mention worthy that one of the eight books withdrawn has, on its cover, children wearing yarmulkes (skullcaps), smiling as they hold machine guns. There are also declarations of how the Third World War will “start in the Middle East between Israel and the neighbouring countries, which are the Arab states”.

While observing that the NLB had taken "decisive steps" in withdrawing  the books, Dr Yaacob said that he will leave it to the NLB's Library Consultative Panel to review and decide on the matter.

NLB had also withdrawn books from its libraries previously after receiving feedback. In July 2014, the NLB yanked two children’s book titles off its shelves after complaints from a member of the public that the books did not promote family values.