Monday, November 28, 2016

Malaysia: Arrest of famed cartoonist Zunar is an outrage

Malaysia: Arrest of famed cartoonist Zunar is an outrage


27 November 2016
“The arrest of Zunar is an outrage. The charge of sedition against him must be dropped immediately and he must be unconditionally released from detention. What we are seeing is the choking of dissent in Malaysia, where repressive laws are being used to silence and punish peaceful voices under the guise of national security,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
“Zunar’s arrest comes as Maria Chin Abdullah, the chair of the Bersih movement, unjustifiably remains in solitary confinement. She was arrested under repressive national security laws on 18 November, a day before thousands of activists took to the streets to peacefully demand electoral reforms and an end to corruption. Maria Chin Abdullah and all other prisoners of conscience should be released immediately and unconditionally.”
The famed Malaysian cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Unlhaque, better known as Zunar, was arrested on 26 November under Malaysia’s draconian Sedition Act, for cartoons that allegedly offended Prime Minister Najib Razak. He is being taken to court tomorrow, 27 November, for a remand hearing.
Zunar's arrest today under the Sedition Act and Penal Code came after he displayed his artwork for public viewing. For Zunar, it is the latest in a series of assaults on his right to freedom of expression, which have included previous arrests under the Sedition Act and a travel ban.
In 2012, Prime Minister Najib Razak had promised to abolish the Sedition Act, but he reneged on that commitment, and the law has been amended to introduce even harsher punishments.
Amnesty International calls on the Malaysian authorities to repeal the colonial-era sedition laws and release all prisoners of conscience held under them, dropping all charges and expunging any convictions.
Maria Chin Abdullah, the chair of the Bersih movement, was arrested on 18 November, a day before thousands of Malaysians took to the streets to peacefully demand electoral reforms and accountability for corruption.
She is being held in solitary confinement after being charged under Malaysia’s Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or Sosma.
The Sedition Act and Sosma are repressive laws that have been increasingly favoured by Malaysian authorities as tools to silence and punish dissenting voices.
Public Document
For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on
44 20 7413 5566 or  44 (0) 777 847 2126
twitter: @amnestypress
International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW, UK

  • Malaysian Cartoonist Zunar Has Been Slammed For Publishing A Cartoon That Criticises PM Najib's Weak Handling Of The MH370 Situation In The Washington Post

      • 0b74Image via Zunar
        Malaysian cartoonist Zunar has been slammed for publishing a cartoon that criticizes PM Najib's weak handling of the MH370 situation in The Washington Post
    • The comic, which described Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as "Too Weak" as the search for the missing aircraft entered "Week Two" drew flak from various quarters.
  • Zunar Was Quoted In The Washington Post Saying That The Malaysian Government Has Hidden So Much Information About The Missing Jet

      • 1b40Image via
        According to Zunar, The Malaysian Government Has Hidden So Much Information About The Missing Jet
    • “The Malaysian government hid so [much] information about the jet. Now, the government tries to blame the pilot to cover up their own weakness in handling this case,” says Zunar, who in 2010 was arrested and briefly charged with sedition over a book of his political cartoons.
    • “Should the government act fast and [be] ready to share the information with other countries like the U.S. and China, … it will be a different scenario. But the question is: Why hide it?” continues Zunar, who in 2011 received the Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award from the Cartoonists Rights Network International.
  • He Holds The Government Accountable For Its Response At The Highest Levels And Mentioned That The PM Only "Opens His Mouth" On The Seventh Day

    • Zunar tells The Post’s Comic Riffs that he holds his government accountable for its response at the highest levels. “Prime Minister Najib [Razak] only opens his mouth on the seventh day,” he says, “when he sees an opportunity to blame opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim merely by the fact that the pilot, Zaharie [Ahmad Shah], is [an] Anwar supporter.”
  • As A Result, Zunar Has Come Under Fire For Being Insensitive And Misleading

    • Cartoonist Zunar came under fire for his comic strip which appeared in the Washington Post, which mocked the Prime Minister and the multi-national effort in search of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight.
  • Professor Datuk Dr. Mohamed, Head Of Politics, Security, And International Affairs Cluster, Says It Is Impossible To Hide Facts When Multi-National Forces Are Involved

      • E9adImage via
        MAS CEO, Department of Civil Aviation Director General, Hishammuddin Hussien, and Inspector General of Police at a MH370 press conference
    • Head of politics, security, and international affairs cluster, Prof Datuk Dr. Mohamed Mustafa Ishak described Zunar’s comic as insensitive and misleading. He said Zunar’s claim that Malaysia was hiding facts was preposterous. "It is impossible to hide facts when multi-national forces are roped in to help in the search and rescue mission," he said, adding it reflected great transparency.
    • "Science and technology is used in the search and rescue mission, and information is released based on hard facts and evidence, and not based on mere speculation and wild allegation," he said. He said even developed countries were involved in the search using state-of-the-art tools to help locate the Boeing 777-200 ferrying 239 passengers and crew that went missing on March 18.
    • Prof Mustafa said the matter should not be politicised because it involved the life and well-being of human beings.
  • Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, Kelab Warisan Malaysia President, Corrected Zunar's Claim Of The PM Only Making A Statement On The Seventh Day

      • 5f69Image via
        Najib made two statements for MH370, one on the first day and another on the seventh
    • Kelab Warisan Malaysia president Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz also hit out at Zunar for ridiculing Najib. "Our Prime Minister has proven his diplomatic capability as he has succeeded in getting so many countries to help in the search using their own budget. "That shows that Najib is not a weak leader," he said.
    • Mohd Khairul, who is also a lawyer, said Zunar’s claim that Najib only made statement on Day 7 of the search was not true, as he had already call a press conference on Day 1 to announce that the aeroplane had gone missing.
  • He Continues To Lambast The Washington Post For Allowing People To Make Baseless Statements On Its Paper

    • He also lambasted the Washington Post for giving space for people to make baseless statements.
      "When four commercial flights were hijacked simultaneously in the United States prior to the twin tower attacks in 2001, the media in other parts of the world did not ridicule the United States government.
    • "How low can the Washington Post stoop when the family members of the missing crew and passengers are waiting in agony, hoping for the return of loved ones?" he asked.
  • In Response To Criticisms, Zunar Questioned The Two Men's Judgment

    • Zunar said in a statement today said he understands the criticism made by Mustafa in defending Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. "However, Mustafa did not read enough before commenting. "I made a conclusion and transformed my opinion through my cartoon, based on news reports and analyses not only by the local media but by dozens of international media outlets as well.
    • Zunar said if the academician had read the article with the cartoon and followed CNN, Al Jazeera, Washington Post, Jakarta Post and South China Morning Post, he would certainly know that China, the United States and Vietnam are very upset with Malaysia's lack of information.
    • “Even Indonesia expressed its disappointment yesterday. Just a few hours ago, BBC reported that the relatives of the Chinese passengers on the missing flight have threatened a hunger strike if the Malaysian authorities fail to provide more accurate information. “I am not suggesting that you have to believe all foreign media reports, but your judgment will be very shallow if you just read local mainstream newspapers!”
    • Zunar reaffirmed his opinion that Najib was “too weak” as a national leader compared with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who would, in such a situation, address the nation and give directions almost every day. “Najib not only left the job to an 'incompetent' (acting Transport Minister) Hishammuddin Hussein, he also took seven days to open his mouth at a press conference. Yet, he did not have the courage to face foreign journalists, by refusing to take questions.”
  • Besides The "Two Week, Too Weak" Cartoon, Zunar's Website Also Has Several Other Cartoons Mocking Malaysia's Management Of The MH370 Search And Rescue Operations

      • 771bImage via Zunar
        Zunar's Website Also Has Several Other Cartoons That Mock The Malaysian Authorities' Management Of MH370 Investigation
      • Fe0aImage via Zunar
        Zunar's Website Also Has Several Other Cartoons That Mock The Malaysian Authorities' Management Of MH370 Investigation
      • 4a2cImage via Zunar
        Zunar's Website Also Has Several Other Cartoons That Mock The Malaysian Authorities' Management Of MH370 Investigation
  • Zunar Was Charged For Sedition In 2010 For His Book "Cartoon-O-Phonia" That Contains Sensitive Issues Such As Altantuya, Rosmah, And Such

      • Zunar Was Charged For Sedition In 2010 For His Book "Cartoon-O-Phonia"
    • 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.
    • On June 24, 2010 “1 Funny Malaysia”, a book of his published works from the Malaysiakini website (published by Malaysiakini), and “Gedung Kartun”, “Perak Dalam Kartun” and “Isu Dalam Kartun” which were a series of magazines about political and recent issues in Malaysia and Perak (published by his company Sepakat Efektif Sdn. Bhd.) were banned and prohibited by the Malaysian Home Ministry to be sold in public.

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