Police seize Malaysia cartoonist books

MALAYSIAN police Saturday seized a cache of books by one of the country’s best-known political cartoonists five days after the artist was detained for alleged sedition.

Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque — better known as Zunar — told AFP that 200 copies of his latest book “Ros in KangKong Land” were confiscated by police as they were being transported from the printers to a book launch.

The book of more than 140 cartoons targets Prime Minister Najib Razak, his notoriously spendthrift wife Rosmah and also touch on contentious issues such as opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial.

The seizure comes just days after Zunar was arrested and detained for three days for criticising the jailing of Anwar in the politically charged case.

Since 2009 police have seized over 1,000 copies of Zunar’s books and he has been accused by security forces of a hate campaign against the ruling regime, the cartoonist told AFP.

“They claim the contents of my books is detrimental to the security of the country,” he said.

“But as a cartoonist, it is my job to portray what the public are talking about. My cartoons represent the feelings of the people. That is my job and I will not be intimidated by anyone.”

Only 20 copies of the “Ros in KangKong Land” were available at the book launch Saturday.

The defiant satirist’s detention Wednesday for alleged sedition was triggered by a Twitter post condemning the Anwar’s five-year jail sentence.

Zunar, 52, had suggested in the tweet that Malaysia’s judiciary — whose independence has previously been questioned in political cases — had bowed to the country’s authoritarian regime.

“Those in the black robes were proud when passing sentence. The rewards from their political masters must be lucrative,” the post read.

Human Rights Watch, which had criticised Zunar’s arrest, said Najib’s government was “turning peaceful criticism into a criminal act that threatens the state”.

Earlier this month, Zunar’s office was raided by police as part of an apparently separate sedition investigation.

Seven of his books have previously been were banned by the government on the grounds that the contents are “detrimental to public order”, Zunar said, while others were being investigated under the Sedition Act.

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