TDM : the man synonymous with crony capitalism tells media how he fought corruption!

December 3, 2013

Tun Dr. Mahathir (TDM): the man synonymous with crony capitalism tells media how he fought corruption

by Lee

mahathir-Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic) today claimed that corruption in Malaysia is greater now than when he was in office.

Explaining why, Malaysia’s longest serving Prime Minister was quoted as saying that the law was enforced smoothly and without delay during his 22 years in office, compared to the current state of affairs.

“Quick action should be taken by the government on cases involving corruption and bribery as the public’s perception is important,” Dr Mahathir said.

“Corruption depended heavily on the law and the punishment meted out. One of the most important factors to battle corruption is the expediting of the investigation process,” Dr Mahathir was reported as saying by news portal, Malaysiakini.

He was speaking at a press conference at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur today after attending a forum ahead of the UMNO assembly which begins on Wednesday.

Dr Mahathir had been asked to comment on the issue as the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index Report is due out tomorrow.

The former UMNO President also said money politics was on the rise, as seen in the recent party elections.

“Although the voting format has been changed, but money politics is still alive and kicking,” Dr Mahathir said, declining to elaborate further.

Instead, he said he had an idea on how to combat corruption within UMNO and Malaysia.

“I have an idea and I will seek out a platform to explain and expand on the idea,” Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini. He also defended democracy in Malaysia, arguing that while it was not perfect, it was still better than having people take to the streets.

“Malaysia’s democracy may not be perfect, but an imperfect democracy is still better than the people taking to the streets and killing one another.”

He was adamant that Malaysia’s democracy was stable and capable of functioning as a social counterweight for all races and communities. However, Dr Mahathir said Putrajaya should own up to its mistakes and work on improving itself to develop Malaysia.

“The essence of democracy is not to achieve victory, but to accept defeat,” he said in his speech at the UMNO International Forum 2013.


Congrats, Zunar on your new Book, Lawak & Lawan

December 15, 2012

Congrats, Zunar on your new Book, Lawak & Lawan (12-14-12)

Local cartoonist Zulkiflee SM Anwar Ulhaque (Zunar, right)is releasing a new book of Zunar“cartoons for the people” continuing his message of “corruption and abuse of power by the BN government”.

The book, titled Lawak & Lawan (Fun & Fight) boasts 108 full colour pages compilation of his cartoons posted on Malaysiakini and other websites this year.

“What I want to convey is that corruption is not just a political issue, but also is a despicable crime because it involves money,” said Zunar, expressing his intention to continue raising public awareness on the issue.

“Hence, in this book, there will be a lot of cartoons depicting the sufferings of the rakyat due to corruption by the BN leaders and their cronies.The title ‘Fun & Fight’ also reflects my determination as a cartoonist to fight with the rakyat to topple the BN regime,” he said in a statement.

 Book on sale over weekend

Zunar’s books are retailed at RM25 each and can be ordered online through his website.Zunar Lawak & LawanThe book will also be available over a two-day sales event to be launched this weekend at Amcorp Mall, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

The prominent cartoonist is known for his politically controversial work and was arrested on Sept 24, 2010 for sedition and his books seized. He has since challenged his arrest and confiscation of his works in court.

Three of his books: 1 Funny Malaysia, Perak Darul Kartun and Isu Dalam Kartun were banned by the Home Ministry deemed unsuitable for public reading under the Printing Presses and Publications Act.

Last year, he was honoured with the ‘Courage in Editorial Cartooning’ award by the US-based Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI).

Confiscation of Zunar’s Books and Artwork unwarranted

July 31, 2012

Confiscation of ZUNAR’s  Books and Artwork unwarranted, says KL High Court Judge

by Koh Jun Lin@

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has held that the arrest and detention of political cartoonist Zunar in 2011 was lawful, but that the continued confiscation of his books and artwork is unwarranted.

As such, Justice Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera today ordered that the cartoonist’s works be returned. He also ordered the court registrar to determine the quantum of damages payable to Zunar, whose real name is Zulkiflee SM Anwar Ulhaque. No order was made as to costs.

The zunar new comic cartoon-o-phobiajudge said arresting officer Arikrishna Apparau and investigating officer Marina Hashim had the power to arrest Zunar under Section 20 of the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) and to seize his works under Section 11 of the Sedition Act.

He said the officers had shown that they had reasonable grounds to suspect that the contents of the book ‘Cartoon-o-phobia’ were seditious. Therefore, the two laws allowed the Police to effect the arrest and seizure of the materials without a warrant.

The judge took note of the fact some the cartoons imply that the Judiciary is under the control of the Executive. “(The cartoons) may be considered as political satire by some, but others might regard them as being seditious. (Arikrishna) belongs to the second category – a reasonable conclusion by a reasonable man,” he said.

cartoon-o-phobia 20100924 drawingHowever, he also said it would have only required a “simple determination” to arrive at a decision on whether the confiscated materials are seditious or not. Hence, continued retention of the materials is unwarranted.

“The arrest and seizure was for a reason. That reason was to carry out investigations to ascertain whether the plaintiff (Zunar) had committed an offence under the Sedition Act, or the Printing Presses and Publications Act… Surely it would not take two years to make that determination,” said the judge.

The prolonged retention of the works without further action is tantamount to infringement of Zunar’s right’s to life under Article 5(1) of the Federal Constitution, as selling the cartoons contributes to his livelihood. The items seized include 66 copies of the book and a A2-size collage featuring the Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor.

Justice Vazeer Alam also ruled that it was sufficient for the police officer to have informed Zunar of the grounds of arrest in layperson’s language, instead of citing the specific legislation used.

‘False democrat’

Speaking to reporters later, Zunar’s lawyer N Surendran hailed the decision as a partial victory, but said he would consider appealing the legality of his client’s detention.

NONEZunar urged the government to return 408 copies of his book ‘Gedung Kartoon’ seized in 2009, and to lift the ban on his other books ‘1Funny Malaysia’, ‘Perak Darul Kartoon’ and three editions of ‘Isu Dalam Kartoon’.

“These books are all banned under the PPPA. The prime minister said some time ago that he would revamp or reform the PPPA. So I would like to say to Najib, please ‘tepati janji’ (deliver your promise) and don’t be a false democrat,” he said.

He pointed out that, under Najib’s Administration, cartoonists have been subjected to the most pressure from the government.

“I was detained. This never happened under the previous Prime Ministers,” he said.

Zunar was arrested on September 24, 2010 during a raid at his office in Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur, just hours before he was supposed to launch ‘Cartoon-o-phobia’.

He was taken to six Police stations before being held overnight at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport Police lock-up, and was released on the following day. Zunar then sued Arikrishna, Marina, Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar, the Home Ministry and the government for unlawful detention.

Cartooning in Malaysia: A Tragicomedy

June 29, 2012

Cartooning in Malaysia: A Tragicomedy

by Mariam

Instead of demanding for the restoration of their right to freedom of expression, these professionals are allowing themselves to be used as a propaganda tool by Najib.

The latest group of professionals to fall prey to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s charm offensive are the cartoonists. If this thought is not depressing enough, UMNO appears to have politicised everything from hawkers to households, and car tyres to cartoons.

The event ‘You, PM and Cartoons: Cartoon and Animation Exhibition 2012’ had been billed as the largest gathering of cartoonists and animators, but conspicuous by his absence was Malaysia’s greatest and most well-known political cartoonist, Zunar (above).

In the past few months, Najib has preyed on FELDA settlers, petty traders and taxi drivers. He has rained goodies on them, given them cash handouts and made promises, which he probably does not intend to keep.

Last weekend, the Central Market played host to cartoonists and animation artists in the cartoon and animation exhibition. It was a joint effort by the Konsortium Cartoonist at Work (CAW) and Kelab Putera 1Malaysia (KP1M). Posters and banners for the event included the ‘1Malaysia’ logo.

UMNO Youth Exco, Sohaimi Shahadan and President Kelab Putera 1Malaysia, Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (of the Somalia Fiasco) are believed to be the two main people behind the scenes.

Sohaimi is alleged to have instigated the cow-head scandal in front of the Selangor State secretariat, he was behind the harassment of Ambiga after BERSIH 3.0 and he is also implicated in the IMPad scandal.

Observers have asked why the cartoonists are allowing themselves to be used as a propaganda tool by Najib. They appear to be seduced by awards, inclusion in the Malaysia Book of Records and offers of cash, when they should instead, demand that their rights and freedom of expression are restored.

Abdul Azeez claimed that the event was to acknowledge the work of cartoon and animation artists. “Not many people realise that cartoonists and animators play a very important role in the entertainment we enjoy every day.”

Awards and Prize Money

It was reported that the event had scored a milestone in the Malaysia Book of Records as the largest gathering of cartoonists and animators. This was disputed by various people who allege that of the 356 supposed cartoonists, only 50 were actual cartoonists whereas the rest were those who had just signed up to participate in the event.

Najib praised the work of cartoonists and presented awards and prize money to them, because they ‘helped strengthen racial unity’, but he said that “provocative and inciteful work, which could lead to disunity and discord must be avoided”.

Around RM300,000 had been allocated via KP1M, for the formation of Yayasan Kartunis 1Malaysia; however, the details of this organisation are unspecified.

He said, “Cartoonists and animators have an important role in development and progress. Humour in the jokes must insert messages on solidarity, cooperation, tolerance and togetherness to uphold the 1Malaysia philosophy,” and he urged them to “translate and communicate all government policies in a light and relaxed way easily understood by society”.

Najib has taken the unprecedented step of banning the use of caricatures in the forthcoming GE-13. Zunar’s depiction of corruption, excesses by the self-styled “First Lady” Rosmah Mansor, the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya, the Scorpene scandal and the corruption of the judiciary, make stimulating reading.

Sources close to Zunar said: “He refuses to be a part of this programme because it is a political programme, not a cartooning programme. He feels that cartoonists are being used by political leaders for their own agendas.

“The exhibition is not organised by the Cartoonist Association, but an association headed by two UMNO leaders – Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (Kelab Putra UMNO) and Suhaimi Shadan (UMNO Youth’s Economic Bureau Chief).”

Beholden to UMNO

When contacted, Zunar confirmed that he objects to being made a propaganda tool and has rejected the award and prize money. Zunar, whose cartoons have courted controversy, says “Lift the ban on my books, drop the charges against me, stop the threats against my vendors and printers. If you present me with an award and prize money of RM10,000 but still enforce the ban on freedom of expression, then what is the point of the award?”

He criticised the selection procedure whereby politicians decide who receives the awards. He said that it would have been more appropriate to have a selection committee of lecturers in the cartooning field, other cartoonists and writers in the creative world.

Awards were given to 10 other cartoonists and animators including Mior Sariman Mior Hassan for the Revolutionary Cartoons category, Jaafar Taib (Cartoonist with dedication); Hassan Abd Muthalib (Father of Malaysian Animations); Lim Kok Wing (for Innovative Artwork) and Reggie Lee (Community Cartoonist-above).

Zunar claimed that with the award and prize money as sweeteners, cartoonists are beholden to UMNO and will refrain from criticising the government: “Why do the cartoonists not demand their rights and the freedom of expression?

“Does this mean that by binding the cartoonists’ hands and feet with law and rules, he can gain support from the cartoonists? Cartoons should be encouraged to flourish so they can evolve and thrive with freedom to create. It must not to be used to support government policies”.

Zunar said that the Prime Minister should learn to accept humour as positive criticism of his policies and work. He described ‘1Malaysia as a symbol of corruption and said that Najib has detained cartoonists who are critical, banned their books and restricted their freedom, using acts such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act and the Sedition Act.

Zunar said: “My award would have been Kartunis Berminda Kritis – The Critical Cartoonist. I disagree, because everyone should learn to be critical. Are they trying to say that others do not know how to be critical? Why can’t the authorities acknowledge the content of my cartoons?”

He condemns the way UMNO believes that a trophy, prize money, a photograph with Najib and a listing in the Malaysia Book of Records, are sufficient to placate Malaysians. Zunar said: “What is more fitting than an award is to give cartoonists their rights and restore the freedom to be creative.”

Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT contributor