Zunar cancels 'pink diamond' show after Penang Umno Youth threatens to attend

Poster distributed by Penang Umno Youth to get members to 'visit' Zunar’s exhibition, which has been cancelled due to the threat. – The Malaysian Insight, July 29, 2017.

CARTOONIST Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, better known as Zunar, has cancelled his first street exhibition in Penang, due to “threat from a group of troublemakers”.

The exhibition entitled “Ketawa Pink-Pink” that would feature a certain woman and her pink diamond jewellery was to be open from 8am to noon in Lebuh Pantai tomorrow. 

The award-winning cartoonist had planned to be there to meet the fans, sign his books and autographs, and talk about his work.

In a statement this afternoon, he said he had to cancel the show after learning that Penang Umno Youth was distributing posters to get members to “visit” the exhibition.

“Last year’s experience tells me this is not going to be a normal visit, but more an act of physical intimidation. 

“Pemuda Umno (Umno Youth) under (its chief) Khairy Jamaluddin has on many occasions  become very rowdy and aggressive, as seen at my exhibition venue in Komtar last November,” he said.

Zunar’s last show in Penang on November 25 last year was disrupted by local Umno Youth members. 

The next day, he was arrested and detained a day by police investigating him for breaching the peace under the Sedition Act and the Penal Code. 

Zunar said from his previous experience, there was no guarantee the police would take action to stop the trouble makers.

“So, I have no choice but to call off the exhibition due to security reasons. Nevertheless, this will not stop me from disseminating messages of anti-corruption through my cartoons,” he said.

Zunar said his “Ketawa Pink-Pink” series of artwork covering current issues like the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal, the US Department of Justice civil suits, and the controversial pink diamond would be printed and published soon.

He said he would make his work “digital open source” for fans to download and distribute free if he could find sponsors for the first print.

Meanwhile, Penang Umno Youth chief Rafizal Abd Rahim said it was regrettable that Zunar had accused the party youth of threatening to disrupt his exhibition.

He said the members merely wished to visit the exhibition to see Zunar’s artwork and had no other intentions.

Rafizal also said Zunar was welcome to hold exhibitions in Penang anytime.

“We will even support him – as long as the cartoonist is not making fun of Umno leaders through his work.

“It remains his own assumption that we are going to make trouble. Zunar has no reason to fear if his work is not to condemn any individual.

“But he uses the Umno president and his wife in his drawings. Well, we just wanted to go and see his work for ourselves,” he told The Malaysian Insight when contacted. – July 29, 2017.

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