Zunar Loses Appeal


On November 1, Malaysian cartoonist Zunar (Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque) received a decision from the courts concerning his challenge to an earlier ruling that had upheld his arrest on charges of sedition. This case began in September 2010, when Zunar was arrested even before the cartoon book that was the center of the controversy have been released to the public. No one either in the judiciary nor the police could later confirmed that they had seen any of the cartoons in the book. What follows here are Zunar's own words and a link to his website with his whole story.

"The Appeals Court of Malaysia today dismissed my appeal against the High Court decision last year which ruled that the police have a right to arrest and detain me under the Sedition Act for publishing my comic book "Cartoon-O-Phobia". The Appeals Court also upheld the lower court's ruling that the confiscation of 66 copies of the book in September 2010 was illegal and ordered the police to return the books and compensate me for them. To me, today's judgement, as the one before, is unacceptable and comical. How could the judges rule that my detention was legal but the confiscation of my book was illegal?"

Continue here http://www.zunar.my/news/appeals-court-judgement-unacceptable-comical/

Latest Statement:

Cartoon book as a 'gift' to Malaysian judges who dismissed my appeal.   

28 Nov 2013: I have sent my latest cartoon book, "Pirates of the Carry-BN" a special 'gift' to Court Appeal Judges who presided over his case early November. I personally delivered the gift to the registration counter at the Palace Of Justice building in Putrajaya , near Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
I hope the judges will read the book and have better understanding about political cartoon and the role of political cartoonist in democratic country.  

The message in the book read as "Dear Justice Abdul Aziz, Arif and David Wong... On 1st Nov 2013, you made a judgement: "The police were right to detain me under the Sedition Act for publishing a comic book, Cartoon-O-Phobia in September 2010.    

Please read this book and you will find that "Drawing cartoon is not a crime!!  


Early November, Justices Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim, Mohd Arif Md Yusof and David Wong unanimously upheld the High Court decision that the seizure of Zunar's books in 2010 was lawful.

The seizures also delayed the publication of 'Pirates of Carry-BN' as 10 printers turned down the job.
They were apparently jittery as the printers of Zunar's earlier publications were also raided during the 2010 seizure of 'Cartoon-O-Phobia'.

Zunar, whose real name is Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, said one printer finally came forward to print the book, provided the company's name was not displayed and if printing was done only at night.  "It was like printing illicit pornography," Zunar said. The printer's name is blacked out in the book, which is now on sale, despite the Home Ministry requirement that the name of the printer is displayed in publications.

Caption: Zunar with the 'gift' in of court building
Political cartoonist
+6012 305 8262
Twitter: Zunar Kartunis

Earlier Statement:

The Fight Through Cartoon is an endless marathon!
By: Zunar, Malaysian political cartoonist
NOV 2013: ON the 1st November, the Appeals Court has dismissed my appeal against the High Court decision last year which ruled that the police have 
the right to arrest and detain me under the Sedition Act for cartooning.
The arrest took place on the 24th September 2010, hours before the 
launching of my comic book, Cartoon-O-Phobia. I was detained for two days in the police lock-up. They also confiscated of 66 copies of the book. I then filed a suit to challenge that the arrest was made in bad faith and mala fide. 
The Appeals Court judges had somehow confirmed the government's stand that 
drawing political cartoons in Malaysia is a crime! I am planning to give 
three copies of my latest comic book to the three judges as a present for 
them to understand what political cartoons are all about. 
I have lost two cases in the High Court have another case pending in the 
Appeals Court and I do not expect to win against this government in the 
Malaysian court. 
My objective is to create awareness on how funny this government is - the 
government of the cartoon, by the cartoon for the cartoon. I will 
definitely appeal to the Federal Court.
For me, all these episodes are just part of the government's mechanism to 
stop me from drawing cartoons exposing their corruption and wrong-doings. 
The script started in September 2009, when the official from Home Ministry 
raided my office and confiscated 400 copies of my then new comic, Gedung 
Kartun. The next day, they raided the printer and gave them a stern 
warning not to print my books in the future or their printing licence will 
be revoked.
At his point, when the government saw that I still produced cartoon, 
they moved to the next step by banning another 5 of my cartoon books on 
the grounds that "the contents are detrimental to public order". The 
agreement with one of the major distribution agency which I have signed a 
week before had to cancelled. 
The government has succeeded in putting fear to both ends of the support 
chain of my product - the printer and the vendor. The inability to sell 
the books has costed me RM20,000 (about USD7000) debt. I had to lay off 
all my staffs. 
In a simpler word, the government may say this: "You can continue to draw 
cartoons, but if nobody dares to print and to sell, what are you going to 
After that, I could not find any printer who is willing to print my book 
and ready to face the consequences from the Home Ministry. In my latest 
book, "The Pirates of the Carry-BN" ( http://www.zunar.my/ ) I have to 
blacken-out the printer's name to protect the printer. And this is against 
the law, but that is the only solution. 
Distribution wise, I can only depend on online sale as no book stores are 
ready to take the risk of selling my book.   
One senior cartoonist did advise me to soften my stand so that my books 
can be sold at open market and I can earn generously. But I said no. I would like to stress that I do not want to draw like any other 
Through my work, my aim is to expose the issue that failed to be touched 
by other cartoonists - such as the Altantuya & Scorpene issues, the PM's 
wife's spending, and so on. 
I will not sacrifice this duty of mine for monetary gain. This is part of 
my CSR (Cartoonist Social Responsibility)!  The Fight Through Cartoon is an endless marathon. We rally to achieve a country that is ruled by the people, where the Gross Domestic Product is the freedom and the values of humanity transcends across race and religion. 
We cannot watch in silence and condone all corruptions, injustice and 
oppression. How can I be Neutral, Even My Pen Has A Stand! 
-- Writer is the recipient of "Courage In Editorial Cartooning" award, by the Cartoonist Rights Network International, Washington. 
Email zunar49@gmail.com. Website: zunar.my

If you have enjoyed reading our articles about cartoonists in danger, if our stories aided your research, we ask you to please consider a donation to CRNI. We want to continue to bring to the world’s attention the plight of these fine cartoonists and the stories their fight for free speech everywhere in the world.  
Please go to the top of this page to donate.