Malaysian paper gets show-cause letter over cartoon

Non-governmental organisation Pembela Islam's representative Masrizi Malek making a speech at a gathering yesterday to submit a protest memo to Chinese daily Nanyang Siang Pau, asking the newspaper to apologise for a caricature deemed to have made a
Non-governmental organisation Pembela Islam's representative Masrizi Malek making a speech at a gathering yesterday to submit a protest memo to Chinese daily Nanyang Siang Pau, asking the newspaper to apologise for a caricature deemed to have made a mockery of Parliament and Islamic matters.PHOTO: BERNAMA

PETALING JAYA• • Malaysia's Home Ministry yesterday issued a show- cause letter to Chinese daily Nanyang Siang Pau following its publication of a caricature that depicted Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) president Abdul Hadi Awang and Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia as monkeys.

In its statement, the ministry said it took action as the caricature was deemed to have made a mockery of Parliament and Islamic matters that could affect public order by "encouraging malice, enmity, hatred and prejudice towards other races".

The newspaper has three days to respond to the letter. The Home Minister's wide powers under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 include revoking or suspending a publishing permit.

Although the Chinese daily has apologised, PAS Youth information chief Ahmad Fadhli Shaari yesterday said: "We also would like to warn them not to touch on our sensitivities. We can forgive but we can never forget."

PAS Youth and several Muslim non-governmental organisations took part in a protest at Nanyang Siang Pau's headquarters yesterday.

PAS Youth assistant secretary Nurul Islam Mohamed Yusoff has called for the daily to "close down".

Titled Monkey Act, the cartoon featured two monkeys sitting on a tree named "Act 355" while a group of monkeys fight under it. It was published in the newspaper two days after Datuk Seri Hadi tabled amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act, known by its Malay acronym RUU355, in Parliament last Thursday.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2017, with the headline 'Malaysian paper gets show-cause letter over cartoon'. Print Edition | Subscribe