KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today allowed cartoonist Zunar to challenge the government‘s decision to ban his book “Sapuman: The Man of Steal”, a compilation of caricatures which poked fun at government leaders.
Lawyer N Surendran, representing Zunar, said Justice Azizah Nawawi granted leave, in chambers, for Zunar to proceed with his judicial review to quash the home minister’s decision last year.
“The Attorney-General’s Chambers did not object to Zunar obtaining leave,” he said.
The court fixed Feb 27 for the next case management.
Last month, Zunar, whose real name is Zulkiflee SM Anwarul Haque, filed a legal challenge to seek a court order to quash the ban on “Sapuman” under the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) as it was against the printing law itself and Articles 5, 8, and 10 of the Federal Constitution, which touch on fundamental liberties.
In his court documents, he claimed that the home ministry’s ban was done in bad faith and 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.
He said because of the ban, he lost his source of income.
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.