Literary Freedom and the Need to Inter-logue


This commentary piece is based upon an article published in Malaysiakini1 and the reactions that resulted from it. The article is not a literary appraisal of the novel. It is an attempt to understand the ensuing controversy and plead for literary freedom. It is not the writer’s place to decide whether the novel is suitable as classroom material but this piece explains the special qualities of literary work and the ethnic politics in Malaysia that is the real casus belli for the controversy.

Keywords: Interlok, ethnic politics, controversial literary work, school textbook


Abdullah Hussain, 1971. Interlok. Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka: Kuala Lumpur.

Abdullah Hussain, 1996. Interlok. Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka: Kuala Lumpur.

Eagleton, Terry, 1996. Literary Theory: An Introduction. Blackwell: United Kingdom.

Khor, Neil, 2002. “Lloyd Fernando’s Green is the Colour and KS Maniam’s in A Far Country: Two Approaches to Nationhood†in Southeast Asian Review of English. Kuala Lumpur.

How to Cite
. Literary Freedom and the Need to Inter-logue. Malay Literature, [S.l.], v. 24, n. 2, p. 189-197, mar. 2016. ISSN 2682-8030. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 24 july 2024. doi: