Malaysia's Umno takes a stab at opposition by using cartoons

Umno puts up posters and drawings to belittle the DAP and other opposition parties on a wall at its annual assembly in Kuala Lumpur, on Dec 6, 2017.
Umno puts up posters and drawings to belittle the DAP and other opposition parties on a wall at its annual assembly in Kuala Lumpur, on Dec 6, 2017. ST PHOTO: TRINNA LEONG

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's opposition parties have a dedicated wall of shame at ruling party Umno's annual assembly this year.

The exhibition boards consist of 20 caricatures and anti-opposition images that criticises coalition Pakatan Harapan.

There is also a 6-minute long, loop of videos denouncing the pact as being led by the Chinese-majority Democratic Action Party (DAP).

Dubbed the "DAP Led Opposition", the exhibit put together by Umno's information department has garnered much attention from attendees and the local media.

Umno's information chief Annuar Musa brought Prime Minister Najib Razak and his deputy Zahid Hamidi for a viewing session on Monday, drawing bemused looks from the premier.

"We want to create awareness that we are now fighting a DAP-led opposition," said Tan Sri Annuar, when asked by reporters about the exhibit.

Elections must be held by Aug 2018, and Umno leaders' speeches this week have been synchronised to accuse the Pakatan Harapan opposition as a pact that is controlled by a single party.

 

Umno's old tactic of scaring Malays to vote for the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, in order to stop the Chinese-led DAP from gaining power, has worked well in the past.

The board of posters and videos reinforces the theme.

One poster shows a boxing ring with DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang as the referee while former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin are battling it out. Kit Siang's caption cloud says, "Great. Malays screwing Malays".

Other posters include opposition lawmaker Tony Pua calling for civil servants to be fired, and Mr Lim driving a tanker across a banner that says, "Malays".

Acclaimed local cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, has criticised the exhibition. Known widely Zunar, he questioned the apparent "double standards" applied by the authorities in approving artworks that mock politicians.

Zunar is facing nine sedition charges in court and has been frequently hauled up by authorities over his cartoons that are critical of Umno leaders.

"Are there two separate laws? One for Umno and one for other people?" he told reporters in Penang on Wednesday.

Umno's wall of anti-opposition posters is accompanied by videos that include similar rhetoric accusing Mr Lim of being racist and splitting the Malay community apart.

"Lim Kit Siang plays racism politics. He has changed to fight against Malays by splitting Umno's Malays," said Umno's Mr Annuar in the video.

There's also a snippet of party president Datuk Seri Najib's speech at this year's Invest Malaysia forum.

"It is this government that offers that certainty (stability) to businesses both in Malaysia and overseas. The opposition offers none at all. They are in chaos," he said in July.

"The DAP leader of the last half century is now hiding behind the man who jailed him," Mr Najib added, referring to Mr Lim and Dr Mahathir without mentioning names.

The no-holds-barred slew of videos also include a brief mention of ties between DAP and Singapore's PAP party.

Part of the footage shows Mr Annuar claiming, "Why did Tunku Abdul Rahman kick Singapore out? Based on what principle? Because there was a viral disease that was brought in from Singapore.

"When Singapore was kicked out, Devan Nair, Lim Kit Siang, Chen Man Hin brought the PAP ideology to form DAP. Three years after DAP was formed, May 13 incident occurred," the former minister said, referring to the 1969 racial riots that occurred in May.

When asked by The Straits Times to comment on his words about Singapore, Mr Annuar said, "These are facts… That's history".

Pressed further to comment if PAP is seen as influencing DAP now, Mr Annuar said "that's up for the people to judge".