What started off as a single satirical sketch of PM Najib Razak by rights activist Fahmi Reza, has snowballed into a series of similar 'clown-faced' posters of the prime minister all over the Internet
On 31 January, Fahmi posted up a sketch of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak with the distinctive features of a clown drawn over it on his Twitter account with the hashtag #KitaSemuaPenghasut.
The sketch was accompanied by a status that read, "In 2015, the Sedition Act was used 91 times. Tapi dalam negara yang penuh korupsi, kita semua penghasut." (In a country filled with corruption, we are all seditious.)
Just hours after the first 'clown' sketch of Najib was posted, the Police Cyber Investigation Response Centre (PCIRC) replied by sending a Twitter warning to Fahmi, alerting him that his account is now officially under police surveillance
Inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar was also tagged in PCIRC's Twitter warning to Fahmi.
However, Fahmi has remained uncowed.
“There is no time for niceties when fighting against corrupt rulers, in a country that uses laws to protect the corrupt and oppress those who speak out against it,” he said in a Facebook posting about the warning.
Following the subtle warning by PDRM's cyber investigation department, local graphic artists have been flooding the Grafik Rebel Untuk Protes dan Aktivisme's (GRUPA) Facebook group with their own versions of the caricature:
2. "Send in the clowns."
3. "Why so serious?"
5. "Bila seorang grafik rebel jatuh, 100 grafik rebel lain akan bangkit!" (When one graphic rebel falls, 100 other graphic rebels will rise)
7. "Kenang daku dalam doamu..." (Remember me in your prayers...)
8. "The Sedition Act 1948 would be repealed and replaced with a National Harmony Act as part of the country’s political tranformation plan."- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak. "Eating his words or biting his tongue?"
9. "In Solidarity with Fahmi Reza."
10. "Siakap senohong gelama ikan duri, bercakap bohong lama-lama mencuri."
11. "Jangan lupa saksikan Sandiwara Perdana, setiap hari pada jam 8:00 malam, hanya di TV3." (Don't forget to watch Sandiwara Perdana, daily at 8pm, only on TV3.)
The 8pm prime time slot on TV3, a local private television channel, is dedicated to the national flagship daily evening news program that runs daily from 8pm till 9pm.
12. "Kita semua penghasut."
The Jawi phrase on the poster directly translates into the tagline, "Kita Semua Penghasut".
13. "Kiss off!"
15. "Ada udang di sebalik batu"
16. "Jangan takut, kita semua penghasut." (Don't be afraid, we are all rabble-rousers."
When asked by political news portal, Malaysiakini, on whether they would reveal their identities, GRUPA artists insisted that they would retain their anonymity to not deviate from the motive of this "solidarity campaign"
Fahmi first rose to limelight when he was arrested during the Occupy Dataran rally, that saw some 500 students and youths asking for the abolition of the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN)
Fahmi Reza and Omar Mohd Azmi were picked up by police officials at about 8am despite the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) recently giving the Occupy Dataran movement the go-ahead to carry out their demonstration.
“Fahmi was sitting down, not doing anything when plainclothes policemen came and arrested him. Omar tried to pull Fahmi back and got arrested.
“Plainclothes policemen accompanied by DBKL officers came, the cops did the arrest while DBKL took down 40 out of 62 tents,” Kris Khaira, an Occupy Dataran participant told The Malaysian Insider today.
After a legal battle that lasted for almost three years, the young activist won the case in May 2015, when the high court ordered the police and DBKL to pay Fahmi RM38,000 in damages and RM30,000 in legal costs for wrongful arrest
Social activist Fahmi Reza does not plan to take one sen from the money he won from his court battle with the police and the KL City Hall, saying today the entire sum of RM38,000 will be donated to activism.
The 38-year-old graphic designer who first made the announcement on Facebook yesterday, confirmed with Malay Mail Online this morning that the money will go into a fund to help protest movements fighting against injustice and power abuses in Malaysia.
“It has never been about the money from the get-go,” he said in a statement.
“This case has always been about the importance of speaking up when there is injustice, to stand up and fight when we are victimised by the authorities, and for us to be courageous in our struggle to defend our freedom and basic rights,” he added.
It's not only the masses that are voicing out their concerns over high-level corruption scandals in Malaysia. Prominent politicians, including former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, have expressed their utter disappointment over the matter:
Also, this isn't the first time Malaysians have taken the artistic route to speaking against injustice and corruption in the country: