(ENG) Statement on court’s ruling on 1 Funny Malaysia and Perak Darul Kartun
Statement on court’s ruling on 1 Funny Malaysia and Perak Darul Kartun
I welcome the decision by the Court of Appeal to lift the ban of my two comic books – 1 Funny Malaysia and Perak Darul Kartun on October 9, 2014. The books were banned on Mei 2010 on the grounds that the contents are detrimental to public order and can influence the public to revolt against the government. I then filed a suit to challenge it, but lost in High Court. Upon delivering the judgement, Justice Muhammad Ariff Yusof, Tengku Maimun Tn Mat and Varghese a/l G Varughese said the Home Ministry’s contention that the cartoons disturbed public order was not a supportable conclusion by any reasonable criteria.
The government also failed to provide evidence to support any allegations of sedition, or acts having a seditious tendency. Instead, in this case, the law of sedition is being used to control freedom of expression, they added. If these cartoons were contemptuous and defamatory, the aggrieved parties could have filed civil suits to seek remedy.
I would like to make it clear that as a political cartoonist, I am more than ready to face legal action by any leaders if they think that I commit slander against them in my cartoons. I am ready to defend my works because they are produced after long laborious and in-depth studies of facts in any issues. In addition, I also urge the government to respect the court’s decision in principle: not only to release the ban on ‘1 Funny Malaysia’ and ‘Perak Darul Kartun’, but also to my other books. Four of my other books are still officially banned: ‘Gedung Kartun’, ‘Isu Dalam Kartun Vol 1’, ‘Isu Dalam Kartun Vol 2’ and ‘Isu Dalam Kartun Vol 3’, while ‘Cartoon-O-Phobia’ is investigated under the Sedition Act.
I also want the government to stop the harassment on the printers that print my books. Printing factories have been raided by the government and they are threatened should they get caught printing my books in the future and their printing license will be revoked. As a result, no printer is willing to print my books anymore except without printing their names in the book, which is contrary to the Printing and Publishing Act. It took me about three months to get a printer who was willing to print my latest book ‘Pirate of the Carry-BN’, and the printing work had to be done at night. I had to blacken the name of the printer in order to protect them.
I also urge the government to stop the intimidation and pressure on vendors dan bookstores who sell my books. In a raid by the police and the Home Ministry, they threatened shopkeepers to be charged under the Sedition Act and Printing Presses Act. I also urge the government to stop the intimidation and pressure on the retailers who sell my books. In raids by the police and the ministry, booksellers were threatened to be charged under the Sedition Act and the Printing Presses & Publications Act. Due to this, no one dared to sell my books including “Lawak dan Lawan”, “Even My Pen Has a Stand”, “1 Moolaysia” and “Cartoon-O-Phobia”. This means that these books are as good as banned books. I have to depend on very minimun online sale through my website zunar.my.
I also urge the government to return all my confiscated books from the book stores and also during the raid at my office. A total of 408 copies of “Gedung Kartun” were seized by the ministry during the raid at my office in September 2009, while hundreds of others with different titles were seized during raids throughout the country. I also demand the government to respect the freedom of expression and artistic as guaranteed in the Constitution. Failing to do this, Najib administration will became merely a cartoon government.
Malaysian Political Cartoonist
Courage In Editorial Cartooning Award, CRNI, Washington
10 Oct 2014