Zunar slams ban on Superman Hew’s comic book

Chinese President Xi Jinping with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the bilateral meeting of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on April 25. A Malaysian cartoonist used a similar photo in his book on the BRI. – EPA pic, October 24, 2019.

CARTOONIST Zunar today criticised the Home Ministry’s move to ban former DAP member Superman Hew or Hew Kuan Yau’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) comic book over its allegedly communist propaganda.

Zunar, who faced his share of legal tussles over his satirical cartoons during the tenure of Najib Razak, said parties who find the content defamatory or seditious should file a civil suit and allow the artist to defend himself instead of imposing a total ban.

Although he has not read the whole comic, the cartoonist said regardless of whether one agrees with the contents of the comic or not, it is wrong to ban the book.

“Until today, I haven’t read the whole content of the comic. What I heard are only hoohaas from the ministers, government institutions and political parties without being specific about which pages and what subjects that they are not agreeing with. I would like to make it clear that personally I may agree or may not agree with the content, but I am strongly against the banning of the comic,” he said in a statement.

“Cartoons and comics are a matter of interpretation. If you do not agree with the contents, no problem. But do not use your interpretation as a law to ban it. Don’t like? Don’t read!”

Legally, the total ban of books is also unacceptable, said Zunar, whose real name is Zulkiflee Anwar Haque.

He also directed the ministry to a Court of Appeal judgment in October 2014 to lift a ban on his cartoon books. The panel were justice Mohd Ariff Mohd Yusof (now speaker of the Parliament), Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat (now the chief justice) and Varughese George, he said.

“Ariff said if persons or institutions are affected by the cartoons, which may be termed as contemptuous and defamatory, they could have resorted to suing the appellants instead,” Zunar said.

Suing is a better alternative than an outright ban on the implausible ground of prejudicial to public order, he said.

The ban was immediate for three versions of Belt and Road Initiative for Win Winism, published in English, Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese.

Hew was called in by police for questioning yesterday.

The Education Ministry had last week said it did not give approval for the distribution of the comic book in secondary and vernacular schools after reports that 2,500 copies in Bahasa Malaysia were distributed to school libraries as reference material.

The comic book was featured in a photograph posted by Hew on his Facebook page showing Chinese President Xi Jinping reading it during a meeting with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in April in conjunction with the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. – October 24, 2019.

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  • Don't dance to the tune of the opposition..Do your warm and let the dogs bark at the hills or mountain whatever

    Posted 4 years ago by Kalai Chelven · Reply