Don't link Nanyang Siang Pau to Charlie Hebdo, says Malaysia's police chief

Nanyang Siang Pau had published a cartoon depicting PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang (left) and Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia as monkeys.
Nanyang Siang Pau had published a cartoon depicting PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang (left) and Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia as monkeys. PHOTO: BH FILE, SIN CHEW DAILY

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has advised people not to link Chinese daily Nanyang Siang Pau's publication of a controversial cartoon to the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.

"I don't want to link this with Charlie Hebdo but I want to advise everyone that we have to be sensitive. We live in a multiracial country with various religions," he told reporters after the Bukit Aman monthly assembly.

"So don't do anything or publish drawings or writing that can cause exasperation in the community. We have to be careful with these things," he said.

The IGP added that police received some 20 police reports on the matter. "Let us investigate and we will hand over our findings to the A-G (Attorney-General)," he said.

The Home Ministry issued a showcause letter to Nanyang Siang Pau following its publication of a caricature that allegedly mocked two political leaders.

The Chinese daily apologised on Monday for the cartoon that depicted opposition PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia as monkeys.

Titled "Monkey Act," the cartoon featured two monkeys sitting on a tree named "Act 355" while a group of monkeys fight under it.

On the tree, one monkey dons a songkok labelled "Speaker" while the other has a turban and is labelled "Hadi Awang".

The cartoon was published in the newspaper two days after Abdul Hadi tabled the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act or RUU355 in Parliament on April 6.

In Kota Baru, Kelantan PAS Youth torched a pile of Nanyang Siang Pau newspapers. Penang PAS commissioner Muhammad Fauzi Yusof also reportedly warned the press that publishing cartoons that anger Muslims may result in a backlash like the Charlie Hebdo tragedy.

In January 2015, two terrorists opened fire at the Paris headquarters of the magazine, killing 12 people, after it published a cartoon depicting Prophet Muhammad.

Charlie Hebdo has been repeatedly threatened for its caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and its other controversial sketches.