PETALING JAYA: DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has condemned the latest alleged intimidation on political cartoonist Zunar, forcing him to cancel his exhibition in George Town scheduled for today, as a sign of more repressive tactics by the Barisan Nasional (BN) to come.
The Penang chief minister said the move by the state Umno Youth to rally members to gather at the exhibition titled “Ketawa Pink Pink” at a Beach Street open-air event was a “harbinger” of more oppression should BN win the upcoming 14th general election (GE14).
“Instead of holding their own cartoon exhibition, they had distributed posters urging their members to come and ‘visit’ Zunar’s exhibition,” he said.
“DAP can understand Zunar’s fear of physical intimidation when last year his exhibition in Komtar resulted in not only Zunar being physically attacked by a Penang Umno youth member, while the police arrested him under the Sedition Act.
“Umno Youth president Khairy Jamaluddin should be ashamed of such behaviour of Umno Youth members which Zunar described as ‘very rowdy and aggressive’,” Lim said in a statement today.
He said BN’s “repressive tactics” also included the recent directive from the Registrar of Societies (RoS) for DAP to hold re-election of its central executive committee, and the home ministry’s banning of a book on the issue of moderation featuring essays by members of the Group of 25 (G25) eminent Malays.
“Instead of banning books, civil action of defamation can always be filed if any party feels offended,” Lim said.
“Clearly, BN is intent in maintaining Malaysia as both a kleptocracy and autocracy, with neither room for dissent nor protection for genuine whistleblowers of corruption at the highest levels,” he added.
Zunar, whose real name is Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, yesterday said the exhibition had to be cancelled due to security reasons.
He said the featured artworks covered current issues like the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) civil suits and a controversial pink diamond.
He said he now planned to make his works available through a “digital open source” platform for fans to download and distribute for free, when he receives funding for the initial print of the collection.