KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — Cartoonist Zulkiflee SM Anwar Ulhaque was today arrested for sedition over cartoons that allegedly insult the prime minister.
According to the Malaysiakini news portal, the cartoonist who is commonly called Zunar was detained in George Town, where one of his exhibitions was attacked by a mob yesterday.
Aside from the Sedition Act, the police are also investigating him under Section 504 of the Penal Code that covers insults made with intent to provoke unrest.
The arrest was denounced shortly after by the organisers of the George Town Literary Festival, where Zunar’s exhibition was displayed.
“The Festival condemns this act of repression which is contrary to the spirit of free speech and expression, a central premise of the festival,” said festival director Bernice Chauly.
Bukt Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari also questioned the arrest against the backdrop of apparent inaction over the attack on Zunar’s exhibition.
The cartoonist, who frequently lampoons Malaysian politics in his art, already has nine outstanding sedition charges that could result in a cumulative 43 years’ imprisonment.
He was accused of making nine “seditious” tweets which, among others, alleged judicial bias and government intervention in PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial and conviction.
Zunar is also under a travel ban ordered by the Inspector-General of Police.