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Malaysia bans new book by cartoonist Zunar

Image taken from Zunar's website

This statement by cartoonist Zunar was originally published on on 4 October 2017.

The government of Malaysia has announced the banning of my cartoon book, Sapuman: Man of Steal under the Printing and Presses Act as per a press report yesterday (3 October 2017).

Previously, my other books - Gedung Kartun, 1 Funny Malaysia, Isu Dalam Kartun (Vol 1, 2, 3), Conspiracy to Imprison Anwar, Perak Darul Kartun and Pirates of Carry-BN - were also banned. Meanwhile Ros in Kangkongland and other titles are being investigated under the Sedition Act.

This is just one of the long list of harassments and intimidation by the BN governenment. Since 2009, my office in Kuala Lumpur has been raided a few times and thousands of my cartoon books have been confiscated. The printers, vendors, and bookstores around the country which carry my cartoon works were also raided. I was arrested several times and am now facing nine charges under The Sedition Act. The government also bans me from traveling abroad since June 2016.

I don't make fantasy cartoons. My cartoons are results from my reaction on current issues, especially on corruption. For instance, the cover of Sapuman is about 1MDB Scandal which involves billions of Ringgit. If there was no 1MDB scandal, I would not produce this particular cartoon. Do not blame the cartoonist if politicians steal billions.

The ban comes a month after Prime Minister Najib's meeting with President Trump in Washington. Surely the Prime Minister has picked up some lesson. If Trump has Islam-O-Phobia, Najib has Cartoon-O-Phobia!

Let's make it clear - if the government does not like my cartoons (I do not expect they will), I have no problem with it. But you cannot translate your interpretation into law by banning a book of my thoughts. This is against the Federal Constitution which guarantees freedom of expression.

I have discussed with my lawyers and will file the legal challenge soon.

I would like to reiterate that this ban will not stop me from drawing cartoons to expose corruption and injustice. You can ban my books, you can ban my cartoons, but you cannot ban my mind. When the government is faulty, drawing cartoon is a duty.

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