This is over a cartoon that lampooned the Kedah state govt’s decision to cancel the religious holiday.
Cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Haque has been summoned to the Padang Terap district police headquarters in Kedah over his cartoon.
Better known as Zunar (below), he said the cartoon which lampooned the Kedah state government’s decision to cancel the Thaipusam public holiday was published on Facebook on Jan 23.
“The police have opened an investigation paper under Section 505(c) of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.
“I will present myself at the police station on May 2, 11am,” he said in a statement this afternoon (April 28).
Section 505(c) concerns intent to incite or which is likely to incite any class or community of persons to commit any offence against any other class or community of persons.
If convicted, a person can face a prison term which may extend to two years, or a fine, or both.
On Jan 21, Kedah Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said Thaipusam would not be marked as a cuti peristiwa (special holiday) since there is no celebration of the annual festival this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The decision courted criticism from various quarters, including MIC deputy president M Saravanan, who reportedly accused the menteri besar of displaying his ignorance and bias towards Hindus.
“I realise that the Thaipusam holiday is a state prerogative unlike other national public holidays but coming out with such a ruling shows the arrogance of the PAS-led government in Kedah,” he said.
Defending his decision, Sanusi said the matter should not be politicised because it concerned the well-being of the people.
“Everyone has been asked to stay at home following the implementation of the movement control order (MCO). All this while, Thaipusam was not a public holiday in Kedah except for the last two years, it has been made as cuti peristiwa (special holiday).
“The decision has nothing to do with the intention to deny the rights of anyone in this state. Even before Thaipusam was made cuti peristiwa, it had been celebrated freely and merrily in Kedah,” he added.
On Jan 25, an aide to the menteri besar had filed a police report against Zunar over his cartoon which he deemed to be “slanderous”.
Nurul Amin Hamid said Zunar could have the contacted the menter besar’s office for clarification instead of creating a caricature which depicted Sanusi chopping the middle of a table with people of various races on it with a butcher’s knife with the caption, “Kedahans lived peacefully before he (Sanusi) came.”