Yesterday, Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Keruak said in a media statement that Zunar’s exhibition in Geneva was an insult to Prime Minister Najib Razak. This is Zunar’s response to Salleh.
Salleh said he did not discount the possibility of a collective effort (by Zunar) to topple the prime minister.
Zunar: If a cartoonist can topple the PM, that is not illegal, but hilarious.
Salleh said Malaysia is a democratic country that does not stop anyone from voicing their opinions, but this has to be done in a proper manner.
Who do you think you want to fool? Even aliens from Mars will not believe your words. If Malaysia was a democratic country, why is it more than 100 individuals have been investigated, arrested, detained, charged and convicted under the Sedition Act since 2014 just for expressing their views?
Voicing opinions should be done in the proper manner? I have been arrested, harassed, had my office raided, and I face various types of harassment from the authorities just because I was expressing my views through creative means! Are drawing cartoons and publishing books not proper?
“It is not wrong to have differences in opinion, or to disagree with the government, but why involve other countries?”
As one of the recipients of the 2016 Cartooning for Peace award, I was invited by the Cartooning for Peace Foundation and the Mayor of Geneva to exhibit 10 of my artworks in Switzerland starting from 3 May.
The giant-size artworks are now on display at a strategic location at the Lac Leman lake until early June. Among the visitors were ex-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, famous French cartoonist Jean Plantureux Plantu and the Mayor, Guillaume Barazzone.
As Minister of Communications, Salleh should know that we are now living in a borderless world. Issues have become universal values. For your knowledge, I was also invited to speak at the UN about freedom of expression during the trip because for them, it is a global issue.
The world has becomes smaller now. That is why media like the the Wall Street Journal in New York can report on what’s happening in Malaysia. That is why, the prime minister can sue them from Malaysia too – except that he is still waiting for Tuesday to arrive.
Have you seen my exhibition in Geneva, Salleh? If you haven’t, then let me tell you that the issues presented are about corruption, freedom of expression, the (alleged) conspiracy against Anwar and the National Security Council.
Which one of the cartoons is not right? If you are still not clear about my cartoons, you can come to my new book launch WASABI (Wa Sapu Billion) this Saturday (14 May 2016) and buy one. Get details here.
No, you cannot buy it at bookstores, because your “democratic” government has banned it.
(Zunar’s exhibition) is an insult to a leader whom the people voted for.
When I was in Geneva, people were already aware about the corruption in Malaysia because it was widely published in major international media. The most popular question was, “How come they said RM2.6bn is a donation?”
The PM and the whole of the Malaysian cabinet are the ones who keep insulting themselves and are an embarrassment to the country. Not me.
I would like to reiterate it is the duty of a cartoonist to expose corruption, and I will keep drawing until the last drop of my ink!
Besides giving a negative image of Malaysia to other countries, such actions (Zunar’s exhibition) were seen as sabotaging the national economy and affecting the confidence of investors in Malaysia.
More than RM42bn of the people’s money has been lost in the 1MDB scandal; yet you blame a cartoonist for the economic problems? You are a very funny minister, Salleh!
Zunar is an international award-winning Malaysian political cartoonist.
- 2016 Cartooning for Peace Award
- Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award 2011 by Cartoonists Right Network International
- Human Rights Watch Hellman/Hammett Award for 2011 and 2015
- International Press Freedom Award, Committee to Protect Journalists, New York 2015
Zunar (Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque) is a political cartoonist from Malaysia. Through his cartoons, he exposes corruption and abuse of power committed by the government of Malaysia. His slogan is “How can I be neutral, even my pen has a stand”.
He is now facing nine charges under the Sedition Act and a possible 43 years jail if found guilty.
He was detained and locked behind bars twice, the first time was in September 2010 for two days and recently on 10 February 2015 for three days. Five of his cartoon books have been banned, his office in Kuala Lumpur has been raided a few times, and thousands of his cartoon books confiscated.
Printers and bookstores around the country which carry his cartoon works have been raided, and they have also been warned not to print or carry any of his titles.
In October 2014, three of his assistants were arrested for selling his latest cartoon books. The webmaster who manages his website and online bookstore was called in by police for interrogation.