The trial of Malaysia’s political cartoonist Zunar (Zulkiflee SM Anwar Ulhaque) on sedition charges, which was originally scheduled for July, has been postponed until the court rules on the constitutionality of the law the cartoonist was charged under. That law — the Sedition Act — was brought in when Malaysia was a British colony in order to discourage anti-colonial sentiment.
Zunar’s nine sedition charges over tweets he made following a politically charged trial carry a possible 43-year prison term.
The possibility of a jail sentence has not side-lined Zunar, who in an interview with the South China Morning Post said: “The job of political cartoonists everywhere in the world is to criticise the government of the day. But in Malaysia, that is not enough. When you live in a repressive regime, you not only criticise, you have to fight. My job is to fight through cartoons.”
Zunar continues to sell his books — banned in his country’s bookstores — online. And he continues targeting the beleaguered government of Prime Minister Najib Razak with hard-hitting cartoon critiques.
Cartoonists Rights Network International — along with the Media Legal Defence Initiative, ARTICLE 19, English PEN, Index on Censorship and PEN International — call for the government of Malaysia to drop ll charges against Zunar.