PETALING JAYA, Oct 2, 2015:

Malaysian political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, better known as Zunar, has hit out at the government for cracking down on freedom of press and expression.

“They have used three laws against a cartoonist.

“They used the Sedition Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (PPPA) and the Penal Code against me,” he said at a press conference here today.

Zunar said he wanted to tell the world that this was the actual state of Malaysian human rights and freedom of expression, and would have more campaigns abroad for this reason.

“It is important to show the global community on the state of our press freedom here.

“I want the international community to know how bad the situation is by exposing my cases.

“I want to expose Malaysia’s standard of freedom of speech through my cartoons.

“I want to expose the real face of the Malaysian government.”

Out of his 18 books, Zunar says seven have been banned under the Printing Presses and Publications Act.

“They said that the content of the books are detrimental to public order and can influence the public to revolt against the government.

“Now the case lies in Federal Court and will be decided in November.

“Three of my printers have been raided and have been warned that they will lose their licence if they keep printing my books. Now no one wants to sell or print my books.”

The cartoonist said he had twice been detained under the Sedition Act and, mathematically, would have to serve 43 years in prison.

Zunar is the first Malaysian selected in the 12 years of the Amnesty International’s Write for Rights 2015 campaign (#W4R).

They chose Zunar following his nine charges under the Sedition Act.

Amnesty International also launched a social media campaign to create more awareness and to show support for Zunar.

Those interested can doodle “what freedom of expression means to you” and post their pictures or tweet supportive messages all using these hashtags: #Zunar #W4R #lakarMYbebas

Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshini said they were calling for all nine charges against Zunar to be dropped.

“We want the Sedition Act abolished immediately and we want other repressive laws amended.

“They must comply with human rights international standards. The authorities must also stop the harassment against Zunar and his staff,” she said at the press conference.

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