A political cartoonist has attacked the ban on political caricatures during the next election as a case of shooting the messenger.
Zulkiflee Anwar Haque (popularly known as Zunar) criticised Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar’s May 30 call, who claimed that political caricatures were inappropriate.
“[The drawing of cartoons] is a legally-practised medium in Malaysia and therefore the EC does not have the right to forbid its use,” he said in a press statement.
He said that instead of attacking the medium, the EC should have gone for the message itself.
Political personal attacks, he added, could have come in any shape and form.
According to a Bernama report, Wan Ahmad said that the 2011 Sarawak state election saw “too many” examples of “inappropriate” political caricatures.
“The election is a serious matter and we cannot allow political parties to display campaign materials which put down any person,” he said at the time.
The EC, he added, would remove any banners bearing political caricatures during the election campaign period, speculated to begin a few months from now.
Wan Ahmad’s call left Zulkiflee, well-known for his unflattering depiction of the Malaysian government (especially of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor), wondering.
He said that instead of banning cartoons, the EC should have spent its time fulfilling Bersih’s eight electoral reform demands (which include cleaning the voter rolls and free and fair media access).
In defiance of the EC’s call, Zulkiflee said that he would be leading a group of cartoonists known as Kumpulan Kartunis Independen (KKI) during the coming election.
“We will be opening our own cartoonist operations room and will be moving as a group in a van while campaigning for the coming election,” he said.
Focusing on government scandals, the KKI’s cartoons would be distributed to the public.