Inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar has advised political cartoonist Zunar to channel his creative juices towards drawing "nice cartoons" if he wanted to exhibit his work.
"He can draw Mcdonalds or Donald Duck, " he quipped when asked if Zunar would be allowed to showcase his cartoons in a public exhibition.
However, he said if Zunar, whose real name is Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, wanted to exhibit cartoons that insulted the country’s leaders, then the latter would face legal consequences.
Khalid then questioned what if the tables were turned as in someone drawing cartoons which insulted opposition leaders.
"If tomorrow such cartoons targeted Penang Chief Minister (Lim Guan Eng), would he like it if we just ignored them?
"Those cartoons insult and condemn the country's leaders.
"So tomorrow when another group draws a crooked face of the CM, and other insulting pieces, would he say it is just a cartoon?" he added.
Khalid was referring to Zunar's arrest over the weekend under the Sedition Act and Section 504 of the Penal Code for attempting to breach the peace.
This was after his exhibition, officiated by the chief minister, was disrupted by a group led by Penang Umno Youth chief Rafizal Abdul Rahim.
In the ensuing chaos, two of Zunar's pieces were damaged.
Meanwhile, Khalid also disagreed that Malaysia had become a laughing stock for taking action against a cartoonist.
"Only certain people like you are laughing. That is what you want people to perceive," he said.
The police chief also did not consider this as a simple matter involving cartoons.
"It is not simple and it is not our culture to draw people in that way. It is insulting and seditious, it makes people hate government leaders.
"It is a subtle way to incite people to hate our leaders. Is this what we want to teach our children?" he asked.
Asked if action would be taken against those who stormed the exhibition in Komtar last Friday, Khalid said the matter was being investigated.
He said several of those involved in the incident had been called in for questioning.
Denying that the police practised double standards, he said: "When reports are lodged, we carry out a probe... but people mostly ask why are we taking action against Zunar.”
"Nobody asked us why we are not taking action against the others. When we take action against someone like Zunar, everyone wants to know.
"It creates the perception that police did not act against the others but this is not true, we would not practise double standards,” he added.- Mkini