Zunar: Nga’s Facebook cartoon not about Hari Raya

Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque

PETALING JAYA: What is so wrong with the cartoon uploaded on DAP lawmaker Nga Kor Ming’s Facebook, Malaysian political cartoonist Zunar asked today.

The hard-hitting cartoonist, whose real name is Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, said cartoons should be viewed from two aspects: the subject and the object.

In Nga’s Facebook case, the subject is a current issue which arose following the RM2.6 billion donation funnelled into Prime Minister Najib Razak’s personal accounts.

The depiction of Hari Raya celebration was just a background to strengthen the issue at hand, said Zunar.

“This cartoon was not about Hari Raya as its message was on donation and dedak (a euphemism for chicken feed which is used derogatorily to describe corrupt cash handouts).

“It is a cartoonist’s responsibility to bring forward current issues in his art. And that was what this caricature did.”

Questioning the Red Shirts’ violent response to the caricature, Zunar said the practice of handing out cash to visitors during Hari Raya originated from Chinese culture. It was not Malay culture, he said.

“So how can they be offended by it when the practice was not part of Islamic teachings?

“From my understanding, the caricature was drawn by a Malay Muslim cartoonist.”

The cartoon has drawn a lot of flak, and as a result, Nga is now being investigated for sedition. Nga, the Perak DAP chairman, has explained that he had never drawn or uploaded the cartoon on his Facebook page.

Zunar said instead of taking action over a piece of art, which had not breached any law or code of ethics, the authorities should learn to see the humour in it.

“Are the hearts of these Umno members, Inspector-General of Police (Khalid Abu Bakar) and the Red Shirts group, made of stone?

“If that is the case, I hereby offer a free ‘let’s laugh’ course for them. I am concerned as a lack of laughter can lead to depression and other diseases.

“I also believe that a nation will never progress if they don’t know how to laugh at certain matters like this.”