I defend my cartoon in Washington Post

I refer to The Star Online article on March 19 titled: “Local cartoonist Zunar slammed over Washington Post comic strip.”

The article was a response to my cartoon and opinion published by Washington Post a day before, titled “Cartoon of the day: Malaysian artist on the lost jet — and his government’s ‘weak’ response to it.

(link http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2014/03/18/cartoon-of-the-day-malaysian-artist-on-thelost-jet-and-his-governments-weak-response-to-it/)

In the cartoon, which was also published by Malaysiakini and followed by my blog (www.zunar.my), I made my point very clear that the Malaysian government under Prime Minister Najib’s leadership is weak in handling the MH370 mishap.

Prof Datuk Dr. Mohamed Mustafa Ishak, Head of politics, security, and international affairs cluster quoted by Star Online, said that my opinion was “insensitive and misleading” and “mere speculation and wild allegation”.

(Link: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/03/19/Zunar-washington-post/)

I understand for some academician, their job is to defend the PM, but clearly Prof Datuk Dr. Mohamed Mustafadoesn’t read enough before he opened his mouth.

I made a conclusion and transformed my opinion through my cartoon based on news reported and analysis not only by local media, but by dozens of international media outlets.

If Prof Datuk Dr. Mohamed Mustafa watch ed and read CNN, Al Jazeera, Washington Post, Jakarta Post, South China Morning Post for example, he would certainly know how China, US and Vietnam are very upset with Malaysia over the lack of information. Yesterday, Indonesia also expressed its disappointment.

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 failed to provide more accurate information.

I am not suggesting that you have to believe all foreign media reports, but your judgement will be very shallow if you just read local mainstream newspapers!

And I would like to reaffirm my opinion that Najib is “too weak” as a leader. Tun Dr Mahathir (this doesn’t mean I like him) will address the nation, give direction almost everyday if this happened in his era.

But Najib not only left the job to an ‘incompetent ‘ Hishamuddin Hussien, and took seven days to open his mouth to speak at a press conference, and yet did not have the courage to face foreign journalists by refusing to take questions.

And I would like to reaffirm my view in Washington Post that the press conference is just a public relations exercise by Najib when he sees an opportunity to gain political mil eage. The flip flop in the investigation leads, which I believe also led to the sudden cancellation of a scheduled press conference by Najib, shows the weakness of the administration.

For me, as a cartoonist, my job is to highlight different point of view, so that the reader will be fed with a better perspective for a healthy debate.

The “how can I be neutral, even my pen has a stand” philosophy of my cartooning requires me to have a very strong etiquette in providing the message and opinion. I do a lot of homework and gather as much information as I can from different perspectives.


Political Cartoonist

19 Mac 2014


ZUNAR is one of the foremost political cartoonist in Malaysia. His office been raided twice by enforcers, the printing factories that print his books are constantly raided and vendors throughout the country are often warned not to sell his books. Seven of his cartoon books were banned by the government.

In September 2010, he was detained under the Sedition Act.

In 2011 Zunar was conferred “Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award” by the Cartoonist Rights Network International, Washington.