PETALING JAYA: Activist Fahmi Reza who got into trouble last year for depicting Prime Minister Najib Razak as a clown, has created a stir once again, this time for depicting the PAS president as an ape.
Taking to Facebook yesterday, Fahmi uploaded a caricature of Abdul Hadi Awang as an ape, tearing up a cartoon published in a Chinese daily recently that depicted him as a monkey.
PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan told FMT that he has not seen the caricature in question yet but that if the drawing is found to have defamatory elements, he would take the matter up with the party’s lawyers.
“Like the cartoon published by Nanyang Siang Pau, we gave it to our lawyers for them to assess if we had a legal case against the daily.
“It is our president’s right not be slandered, or portrayed negatively in that manner. So we reserve the right to take legal action if necessary,” said Takiyuddin.
He said Fahmi’s caricature was a deliberate attempt to provoke PAS and divert the Islamist party’s attention from their true aim of safeguarding the well-being of the public and strengthening the country’s shariah courts.
“But we won’t fall for it.”
The caricature comes in the wake of a controversial cartoon published by Nanyang titled “Monkey Show Act” that featured two monkeys sitting on a tree labelled “Act 355”, a direct reference to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965. A group of monkeys are seen fighting below the duo.
On the tree, one monkey wearing a songkok is labelled “Speaker”, while the other labelled “Hadi Awang” wears a turban.
Although the Chinese daily issued a formal apology for the cartoon, and pulled it from its digital edition, various quarters from PAS and Umno have expressed their dissatisfaction and demanded that Nanyang’s publication permit be revoked.
The Home Ministry has issued a show cause letter to the daily, claiming that the cartoon made a mockery of Parliament and Islamic matters and could affect public order.
Meanwhile, Fahmi in a Facebook post today, asked for his social media followers and friends to voice their opinion of his “latest protest caricature” that “portrayed the PAS president as a monkey”.
“I produced the drawing as a sign of protest against PAS and PAS’ supporters who practised censorship when they tried to stop a satirical cartoon published by Nanyang.
“(It is) an action which I view as contradicting the freedom of artistic expression, and media freedom.
“Do you guys feel offended with my monkey drawing? Do you think the caricature is excessive, too provocative, and should be deleted? If yes, why? If no, why?”
Most of those who commented on the post said while they considered the caricature provocative, they supported Fahmi on the basis of freedom of expression.
In fact, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman also voiced his support for Fahmi.
In his comment, Syed Saddiq, said: “I don’t agree with the drawing. But I will still defend your right to draw it.
“You’ve been consistent in using art as a means of expression. Najib, Tun M (Mahathir Mohamad), DSAI (Anwar Ibrahim), all have been drawn.
“TGHA (Hadi) is no exception.”