GEORGE TOWN: Anger and disgust over depiction of national leaders led to a protest at an exhibition by cartoonist Zunar in Komtar yesteday, an Umno Youth leader said.
He also claimed they were provoked by a state executive councillor.
Nibong Tebal Umno Youth Chief Mohd Norhiesam Ismail said he and 50 party and NGO members were there in force to object to the cartoons by Zunar, whose real name is Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque.
Norhiesam said they had come in peace, but were provoked by Penang executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin.
“We had come in a peaceful and controlled manner. But Dr Afif attended and provoked us. Dia sindir. (he made fun),” Norhiesam said when contacted.
Norhiesam said he lodged a police report at the Patani Road police station over the exhibition as he felt Zunar’s drawings had disturbed the peace of Malaysians at large.
Norhiesam said it was unacceptable for Zunar to depict national leaders like Prime Minister Najib Razak in a bad light.
Meanwhile, Afif said Norhiesam’s claims of provocation were not true.
Afif said he had returned from an ice-cream parlour after Friday prayers to his office at the time of the incident. There, Afif saw Zunar “being harassed” by a group of Umno members.
“Just happened to pass the exhibition after my break with a small cup of ice-cream in my hand. I was on my way to my office.
“Then I saw them harassing Zunar. So I told the Umno members to stand down. I told them this was a government building, please respect it. There was no provocation at all.
“They then asked me to go away. I said ‘you guys should go away, I work here’. I did not provoke them.
“I was having my ice-cream while talking to them,” Afif said when contacted.
Earlier, Zunar was nearly assaulted by an angry mob led by Umno Youth leader, Rafizal Rahim.
Fortunately, Zunar was unhurt in the incident after patrolling policemen came to defuse the situation.
The exhibition, which was supposed to be held from today until the weekend, has been cancelled as a result.