Cartoonist Detained

Critics now say that levels of repression are reaching very dangerous levels after police indeed detained Zunar at a literary festival and then charged him with sedition

A Malaysian cartoonist who is known for lampooning the scandal-plagued prime minister as well as his family has now been arrested for sedition, a move which denounced as the latest sign of pressure on government critics.

Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque who is known by the pen name Zunar was detained in Penang state where he was then participating in an insurance literary festival.

Penang district police chief, known as Minor Faridalathrash Wahid, confirmed that Zunar was indeed arrested under the sedition act. He declined to give details.

Festival organizers, as well as participants, have condemned the arrest in a statement.

Levels of repression are reaching dangerous levels in Malaysia, said Michael Vatikiotis, a writer at the festival.

The fact that Zunar’s arrest happened at the George Town Literary Festival, with dozens of international writers and artists, only underscores the government’s disregard for their freedom of expression.

Many government critics, including politicians, academics, activists, as well as journalists, have been arrested in recent months for sedition or other charges that rights, as well as legal groups, call highly questionable.

Zunar is no certain stranger to the law, having been arrested as well as taken to court on several occasions. He has nine previous charges under the sedition act which are indeed still pending trial.

His office had previously raided as well as there is a ban on his political cartoon books, which mostly mock the prime minister Najib Razak as well as his wife.

Najib faces allegations that billions of dollars were taken from sovereign fund 1MDB, his pet investment project.

He, as well as 1MDB, deny wrongdoing. But the US Justice Department this year detailed a campaign of fraud as well as money-laundering by his family, associates as well as a Malaysian Official 1 an apparent thinly-veiled reference to Najib.

Thousands of people have now flooded the capital with the yellow colors of the reformist movement demanding Najib’s resignation this last weekend.



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