Intimidation of critics has begun, says Zunar

PETALING JAYA : Political cartoonist Zunar, who is bracing himself to be charged for his cartoon lampooning the Kedah menteri besar over the axing of the Thaipusam state holiday, warned that the current government could have already started its intimidation of critics.

Saying that he was questioned for two hours at the Padang Terap police station in Kedah over the cartoon, he cautioned that this may not be a one-off case.

“This could be the start to silence critics. I think this is a new beginning of intimidation under the current government,” he told a forum called “Cartoonist: Enemy of the State”.

He said the problem with the Sedition Act and the Communications and Multimedia Act was that they were being interpreted according to what the government wants.

“The government always has the right to decide whether this is seditious or not, or whether this is fake news or not.

“There is no clear definition on what is seditious or what is fake news.”

Cartoonist Zunar was questioned for two hours at the Padang Terap police station in Kedah over his cartoon.

On the current investigations against him, Zunar, whose real name is Zulkiflee Anwar Alhaque, said police would most likely charge him for the particular cartoon which he published in January.

He is being probed under Section 505(c) of the Penal Code for making statements conducive to public mischief with intent to incite the community to cause them to commit an offence against any other communities, and also under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 for abuse of network services.

The cartoonist, who has a good following among Malaysians, said this was the 10th time police had questioned him over his cartoons. This involved six laws.

“They asked me nearly 20 questions. I answered some while I reserved the right to answer others in court.”

Speaking to FMT after he was questioned yesterday, he said he was being investigated after three police reports were lodged against him over menteri besar Muhammad Sanusi’s cartoon in Alor Setar, Pendang and Padang Terap.

On Jan 25, Sanusi’s senior special assistant Nurul Amin Hamid lodged a police report against Zunar, claiming his cartoon over the state government’s move to cancel this year’s Thaipusam holiday had slandered his boss.

Earlier this year, Sanusi declared there would be no Thaipusam public holiday for Kedah this year — a move which sparked a row among Indian political leaders as well as rights groups who said it was an ignorant move that could affect the harmony among races enjoyed in the country.

By : Ainaa Aiman – FMT

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