On Valentine’s Day, Malaysian authorities seized 200+ copies of controversial cartoonist Zunar’s new book before its official launch party because it satirizes the prime minister’s wife. Zunar–whose full name is Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque–explained to the crowd what had happened after the launch was delayed by three hours but reminded the crowd that the collection could still be bought online.
The book, titled “ROS in Kangkongland,” is dedicated to Rosmah Manzor, wife of current PM Najib Razak because, Zunar said, he uses her as his inspiration. “”This book is about Rosmah,” he said. “Rosmah is my ‘idol’. She gives me a lot of inspiration…Every time she opens her mouth, I’m inspired, whenever she keeps quiet, I don’t get any inspiration.” Manzor has been criticized repeatedly by Malaysians for her lavish spending as well as her referring to herself as “First Lady,” a title many believe she shouldn’t use given that Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy.
Zunar, who has seen his previous work banned, is under police investigation for sedition and has already spent three days in jail. The printing company that worked on the new book halted production after his arrest. Still, Zunar was defiant, saying “I expect this, I’m already prepared for the worst as a political cartoonist in Malaysia when you fight an oppressive government…I hope one day this government will be finally kicked out by cartoonists, because it is a cartoon government.”
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