Here’s a defiant statement from cartoonist Zunar yesterday over the banning of his publications. After all, what else can a cartoonist do but draw what he feels for?
At press time, I have yet to receive an official letter from the Home Affairs Ministry on the banning of my books.
Based on the news report in Malaysiakini (24 June 2010), the Home Affairs Ministry was quoted as saying that three of my publication were banned, namely ‘1Funny Malaysia’, ‘Perak Darul Kartun’ and ‘Isu Dalam Kartun (IDK)’.
‘1Funny Malaysia’ is a collection of my published work from the year 2005 until 2009, in Cartoonkini on Malaysiakini.
‘Perak Darul Kartun’ is a book published by my own company Sepakat Efektif Sdn Bhd.
‘Isu Dalam Kartun (IDK)’ is a monthly magazine with a publishing permit from the Home Affairs Ministry. Three issues have been published: vol 1, vol 2 and vol 3.
Last year, another mangazine of mine ‘Gedung Kartun’ was confiscated and banned. According to the latest statement from the Home Affairs Ministry, all six of my publications as well as my team of cartoonists are listed in the ‘Prohibited Publications’ list.
In the Malaysiakini report, the chief secretary of the Home Affairs Ministry Mahmood Adam reportedly said these books are banned because they are not suitable for reading by the public.
All three publications will be put in the “Prohibited Publications” list due to content that will influence public perception of the country’s leadership and government policies. They are not suitable for reading by the public and may jeopardise public order.
The government/Home Affairs Ministry has alleged that the content of my cartoons will influence public perception against the country’s leadership and government policies. Thus, they are not suitable for reading by the public and may jeopardise public order. This is a serious accusation and must be supported by strong reasoning and proof.
With this ban of the six publications, it also means that all 312 cartoons and my whole team of cartoonists are being banned as well.
I demand that the Home Affairs Ministry explain the definition of “content that will influence public perception of the country’s leadership and government policies. Thus, they are not suitable for reading by the public and may jeopardise public order.”
I demand that the Ministry identify which cartoon of the 312 cartoons is categorised as “a threat to national security and not suitable for reading by the public”.
I am responsible of all my cartoons and I am willing to face the law if I have broken any law.
From a business perspective, the Ministry’s action has caused considerably large amount of losses to my company. It is estimated the amount of losses may climb to RM50,000 to RM80,000 with the returns of the publications from vendors.
I would like to stress that material gain is not my objective. As a cartoonist, it is my social responsibility to
expose the truth; and the lies and corruption of the BN government.
Saidina Ali once said, “Telling the truth to the tyrant leader is the real patriot”.
The government can ban my books. They government can ban my magazine. But the government cannot ban my mind. “I WILL NOT STOP DRAWING TILL THE LAST DROP OF (INK FROM) MY PEN.”
(Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque)