PETALING JAYA: Cartoonist Zunar today filed a challenge against the government for banning his book “Sapuman: The Man of Steal”, a compilation of caricatures poking fun at government leaders.
In his court documents, he claimed the home ministry’s ban last year was done in bad faith but he was not informed about it.
“I was shocked to learn the ministry had banned my book even though it had been sold since 2015.
“Ministry secretary-general Alwi Ibrahim later said in a press statement (on Oct 9) that my books were banned because the cartoons were deemed prejudicial to public order,” he said in his affidavit.
The home ministry had said that “Sapuman” was banned under Section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publication Act (PPPA) as it could likely alarm public opinion.
Zunar, or his real name Zulkiflee SM Anwarul Haque, said because of the ban, he had lost his source of income.
“They also denied me of my rights to free speech under the Federal Constitution.”
He is seeking a court order to quash the ban on “Sapuman” under the PPPA as it was against the printing law itself and Articles 5, 8, and 10 of the Federal Constitution, which touch on fundamental liberties.
The government has so far banned nine works by Zunar, including three last year.
Zunar had previously challenged the government’s decision to ban two of his books, “1 Funny Malaysia” and “Perak Darul Kartun” in 2010.
The Court of Appeal revoked the ban in 2014 and ordered the government to return the books that were seized.