PAS: Caricaturing our leaders is fine, but…

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PETALING JAYA: Nanyang Siang Pau didn’t just insult PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang with its controversial cartoon, it also touched on Muslim sensitivities, says a PAS leader.

PAS Youth information chief Ahmad Fadhli Shaari said the daily’s depiction of Hadi and Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia as monkeys was a clear insult that party members would not tolerate.

“There is no problem with drawing a caricature resembling political leaders, but not ones that are insulting. The daily had not only insulted a PAS leader with the cartoon, but by drawing monkeys in religious attire,” he told FMT after leading a protest by some 150 PAS members and supporters outside the Nanyang Siang Pau office today.

He said the drawing also made fun of the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 or Act 355, which Hadi is seeking to amend through his private member’s bill.

“That, we cannot accept,” said Fadhli.

On April 8, a cartoon carried by Nanyang under the title “Monkey Show Act” poked fun at Hadi and Pandikar, depicting them as monkeys on a tree named “Act 355”.

This referred to Hadi’s motion to table his private member’s bill to amend the act last week.

One monkey labelled as “speaker” wore a “songkok”, while another, labelled “Hadi Awang”, wore what looked like a turban.

Yesterday, the paper issued an open apology to Hadi and Pandikar.

Meanwhile, PAS central committee member Sallehen Mukhyi said the protest was held to drive home the party’s message of religious harmony.

“This gathering is not meant to express hate towards other religions, but we want to teach them (people of other religions) to live harmoniously,” he said.

Sallehen also urged the home ministry to review the daily’s publication licence.

Last Thursday, Hadi tabled a motion to allow shariah offenders to be punished for a maximum of 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 for fines, and 100 strokes of the cane, from the current three years’ jail, RM5,000 for fines, and six strokes of the cane.