Malaysia 'bans' Peter Mayle book Where did I come from?

British author Peter Mayle attends a press conference during the Toronto International Film Festival on 9 September 2006 Peter Mayle also wrote international bestseller A Year in Provence

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Malaysian officials have ordered book shops to stop selling a sex education book by British author Peter Mayle.

Where did I come from? is banned from sale pending a review, a Home Ministry statement seen by the BBC said.

It will be banned completely if it is "if it is proven to contain elements harmful to public morals and corrupt people's minds", said the statement from a senior official on Tuesday.

The book's cover states it is "the facts of life without any nonsense".

The illustrated book aims to help parents explain to children such topics as sex, conception and birth, according to a book preview on online retailer Amazon.

Book sellers 'co-operating'

Deputy secretary for safety, Abdul Rahim Mohamad Radzi, said in the statement: "The ministry has obtained the co-operation of book sellers around the country to immediately stop sales until the review is completed and the decision is made."

The statement said the ministry was taking action under section seven of the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984.

It said that if the book was banned, anyone importing or selling it could face a jail sentence and a fine of up to 20,000 ringgit (£4,200; $6,600).

The ministry did not specify how long the review would take or how many copies were in circulation.

The conservative Muslim-majority country regularly bans publications, with sex and religion seen as particularly sensitive subjects.

Censorship laws

In November last year Malaysian officials banned a book entitled Islamic Sex that offers sex tips to Muslim women.

The Home Ministry told the Malaysia Star newspaper that book was banned because its content infringed censorship laws.

Officials said anyone found with a copy of the book could be fined.

And anyone making copies of the book for distribution faced a jail sentence and a fine, they said.

Peter Mayle, 72, was born in Brighton and is the author of a string of books, including international bestsellers A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence.

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