The Bahasa edition of an Ultraman comic book was banned by Malaysia’s Home Affairs Ministry for using the word Allah. Ultraman is a popular Japanese comic hero.
The ‘Ultraman The Ultra Power’ edition featured a character described as being “considered to be, and respected as, the ‘God’ or Elder of all Ultra heroes”. The word God was translated as Allah in the publication. Officials who banned the comic book said children might be confused when they read Allah.
Malaysia is a Muslim-majority nation. There is a current controversy about an order banning non-Muslims from using the word Allah to refer to God. The matter is now pending in the high court.
Most comments are not in favor of the ban. They pointed out that the government could have simply requested the publisher to change the translation. Here are some comments from the alternative news site Malaysiakini:
Relevancy: Why ban a book when they can request for a change in the wording? Is everything to be considered as banned material rather than to request for remedial action to be done? What kind of ministry do we have here?
BernieBaby: Ultraman, we are in dire need of your services. Please save Malaysia. We have monsters in control of the government.
Not Smart: Our administration always takes the easy way out. They are afraid of (or maybe cannot do) hard work and think smart to improvise/rectify an issue/problem. It is most of time just the easy way of cancelling/banning/changing or creating new laws and regulations.
The #ultraman ban in Malaysia is so retarded I thought it was a joke.
— Daryl Tan (@ExDaro) March 7, 2014
The only VALID reason for KDN to ban Ultraman; they wear tights & they don't look as good as Superman in tights pic.twitter.com/34cu9dhjxE
— Aida Anuar (@aidaadibah) March 6, 2014
Meanwhile, L.A.M. mocks the ruling by recommending the censorship of other cartoons:
As I am a supporter of protecting public morality, I would like to offer them additional suggestions on what other childhood favorites they can ban to justify their headcount and salary.
Jasmine: Encourages mixing around with thieves. Also the first 2 syllables of Aladdin should be banned.
Mulan: Encourages cross-dressing and transsexualism.
Pocahontas: Look at what she is wearing? This is public indecency.
Also heroines is 2 letters away from heroin, a banned drug in Malaysia.
Kevin Tan is worried over the successive negative news stories in Malaysia such as the drought, the missing MH370 plane, and the Ultraman ban:
Smog, dengue, water shortage, dry spell, Ultraman, now MH370. Why all these negativity haunting us? Becareful of our deeds.
— Kevin Tan (@kevingptan) March 9, 2014
But Ariff Iman Anuwi reminds other netizens that only one edition of the comic book is banned:
Why are people so dumb? Ultraman is not banned, only the one edition of the book.
— Ariff Iman Anuwi (@AriffImn) March 7, 2014