Shahnon has written a number books, one of the most notable being Shit @ PukiMak @ PM (1999), a controversial political satire. The book makes allegorical references to the ruling coalition government, Barisan Nasional (BN), its major component party, United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), and former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamed. There were attempts by the government to ban this book and to strip Shahnon of his literary title.
Some novels written by Shahnon include Ranjau Sepanjang Jalan (1966)—which has been adapted into a film called Rice People directed by Cambodian film director Rithy Panh, Rentong (1965), Srengenge (1973)—which won the Malaysian Novel of the Year in 1970, and Terdedah (1965).
Shahnon is also a member of opposition political party PAS. In the 1999 general election, he contested in the Parliamentary constituency of Sik (P.13) in which he won. He did not contest in the 2004 general election which saw PAS losing that seat to BN.
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