"Latest Crackdown Against Cartoonist Zunar Has Made Him A Hidden Hero Of Modern Democracy"
The Tussle Between Controversial Cartoonist Zunar And The Malaysian Government Has Reached International Shores
Washington-Based Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) Has Launched A Campaign To Support Zunar Who Is Facing The Sedition Act
Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI), a Washington-based group who defends cartoonists rights globally has launched a campaign to support political cartoonist, Zunar, who now faces a new battle with the Malaysian government under the draconian law, the Sedition Act.
CRNI's Executive Director Dr. Robert Russell Congratulated Malaysia For Single-Handedly Making The 52-Year-Old A National Hero As He Uncovers The Wrongdoings Of The Government
The government of Malaysia has to be congratulated for single-handedly creating the country’s latest national hero. It’s remarkable what a single person with a pen can accomplish in Malaysia.
For nearly 5 years now Zunar has been a thorn in the side of the government, as he uncovers and then illustrates all the modern wrongdoings of a quasi-failed state. His cartoons focus on corruption, cronyism, lack of transparency, theft, illegal kickbacks, nepotism, election rigging and every other kind of reward that failed state political hacks seem to thrive on. Zunar’s drawings could be used as a primer for any failed state crony who wishes to further harvest ill-gotten gains from under the noses of their citizens, while flagrantly thumbing the same nose at their own Constitution.
If the political leaders in Malaysia really understood what they were dealing with, they would just let him alone. They would allow him to publish his cartoons, and thus stop being the source of so many wonderful stories about unethical and illegal censorship in Malaysia. A good look at Zunar’s cartoons will assure us that Malaysia’s leaders are certainly not too thin, but he does suggest that they are probably too rich.
The Government Has Launched Its Most Severe Efforts To Silence The Cartoonist. It First Started On 7 November When Three Of Zunar's Assistants, Including His Wife, Were Arrested For Selling His Books.
Wife of controversial cartoonist Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque or better known as Zunar, was arrested in the compound of the Palace of Justice here today for selling books containing elements of mockery against the judicial institution and country leaders. Also arrested were a woman and a man believed to have helped her in displaying and selling the books since the sodomy trial involving opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim began last Tuesday.malaysia-chronicle.com
The trio were picked up by plain-clothed policemen at 6.50 pm on 7 November 2014. All the books, cards and comics on sale were also seized. They were then taken to Putrajaya police headquarters for further investigation. Putrajaya police chief ACP Abdul Razak Abdul Majid when contacted, "They were detained under Section 2 (3) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984."malaysia-chronicle.com
One Week Later, The Webmaster For Zunar's Official Website, Zunar.my, Was Called Up For Questioning
On 17 November, Zunar Was Officially Called Into The Dang Wangi Police Station Under The Sedition Act. Two Policemen Questioned Him For Approximately An Hour.
Accompanied by his lawyer Latheefa Koya, Zunar entered the Dang Wangi Police Station at about 3.05pm and was questioned by ASP Wan Aidil from Bukit Aman for about an hour. He is being investigated for offences under Section 8 (2) of Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984, Section 4 Section 4 (1) (c) of the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 500 of the Penal Code.themalaysianinsider.com
When contacted, Zunar said he believes the investigation centres on either of two cartoon books – Pirates of the Carry-BN or Komplot Penjarakan Anwar (Conspiracy to Imprison Anwar) – as these publications were recently seized from his assistants.anilnetto.com
The 52-year-old cartoonist for Malaysiakini said he chose not to answer some 26 questions when investigated by two police officers, Assistant Superintendent Wan Aidil and Assistant Superintendent Lim from Bukit Aman and Putrajaya district police station for an hour and half. “Majority of the questions were pertaining to my work, Konspirasi Memenjarakan Anwar and I chose not to answer the questions posed,” he said when speaking to reporters here.therakyatpost.com
The Plot Thickens In The Days To Come. Bukit Aman Then Asked MOLPay, The Online Payment Gateway That Handles The Transaction On His Website To Disclose The List Of Customers Who Had Purchased His Books.
A list of those who had purchased books by controversial cartoonist Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque or better known as Zunar has been given to Bukit Aman to facilitate investigations, according to the cartoonist himself. Zunar said he received an e-mail from the company that handles the online sales of his books on Monday informing him of the matter.therakyatpost.com
“PDRM has sent a formal request for MOLPay Sdn Bhd to provide the online payment receipt of customers who have purchased the said book via your website www.zunar.my in which MOLPay has no choice but to furnish them with the requested details,” the email from MOLPay stated.malaysia-chronicle.com
“The company has been cooperating with me to sell my books online for the past three years, and now the police want them to handover the list of buyers. I was told they had no choice, but to do so,” Zunar.therakyatpost.com
This Latest Sedition Investigation Comes After The Court Of Appeal Unanimously Ruled Against The Home Ministry And Lifted The Ban On Two Of Zunar's Books
On 9 October, the Court of Appeal had lifted the ban on 1 Funny Malaysia and Perak Darul Kartun. Zunar said the judges had gone through his book almost page by page with the prosecutor and found that they were just satire. But four of his other books – Gedung Kartun, Isu Dalam Kartun Vol 1, Isu Dalam Kartun Vol 2 and Isu Dalam Kartun Vol 3 – remain officially banned. Another book, ‘Cartoon-O-Phobia’, is being investigated under the Sedition Act.anilnetto.com
The Court of Appeal ordered all the copies seized by the Home Ministry in 2010 to be returned to him. Mohamad Ariff said political cartoonist, unlike serious political writers, sought to ridicule persons and institutions with humour to deliver a message. "It will be most exceptional if a political cartoon will have the effect of disturbing public order, security or the safety of a nation." Justice Varughese, in his supporting judgment, said the minister's decision in banning the books was on the ground that they were prejudicial to public order was unsupported.thesundaily.my
Zunar Says This Is The First Time The Government Is Going After Booksellers And Customers In An Effort To Stop Him From Drawing. However, He Considers It Fuel For His Passion Rather Than Pressure.
Zunar says “The latest government crackdown is the highest harassment and intimidation against me by the Malaysian authority. In previous episode, apart from me, the authority only went after the vendors, the printers and the publishers. “This time round, they also went after the webmaster and my online customers.”cartoonistsrights.org
"Both the books are not banned but by harrassing booksellers, it is even worse than banning," he said. "But the strange thing is, this comes after the court lifted the ban on the (other Zunar) books, which shows they have no respect for the courts."malaysiakini.com
“The investigations into a book which is not banned is a total waste of time and I feel these are efforts to stop me from drawing.” “I do not consider it pressure, but as a passion for the beginning of my struggle through cartoons to reveal the mismanagement of the country by the ruling government.”therakyatpost.com
Calling Zunar A "Hidden Hero Of Modern Democracy", CRNI Encourages Malaysians To Understand The Risks Zunar Faces To Defend The Honour Of The Country
Zunar must be recognized internationally and domestically as the patriot and hero that he is. Every Malaysian citizen should understand that he risks his life on behalf of everyone, and he does it in defense of the honor of Malaysia and in the name of the Malaysian Constitution. Zunar has deeply internalized the Constitution’s guarantee that he and every other Malaysian citizen who has the courage, the right to be such a patriot.
For more than 20 years I have been monitoring the activities of political cartoonists who are in trouble because the power and influence of their work. I am constantly in awe of them. They are not all as dynamic and feisty and stubborn as Zunar, but they all exhibit a courage and the dignity which exemplifies the best of the human spirit. As the famous American humorist Mark Twain once said, “Against the power of laughter, nothing can stand.” Zunar, along with so many of his associates who suffer along with him, are the hidden heroes of every modern democracy.
Zunar Uses Cartoons As A Weapon To Fight Corruption And Abuse Of Power In The Government. He Was Arrested And Charged For Sedition In 2010.
On September 24, 2010 Zunar was arrested by the police and charged for sedition, 3 hours prior to the launching of his just-published book “Cartoon-O-Phobia”. During the arrest the police seized 66 copies of the book. The clamp-down may have been due to reasons that the book contains ‘sensitive’ issues such as the Altantuya murder, the conspiracy against Anwar, the prime minister’s wife Rosmah, the loss of fighter jet engines, the Scorpene submarine that cannot dive, issues in Sarawak, racism, corruption, waste of public funds, among others.zunar.my