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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Zunar’s book launch disrupted again, cartoonist faces possible arrest

Zunar’s tweet on the police action against his book launch this morning. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Seth Akmal, February 28, 2015.Zunar’s tweet on the police action against his book launch this morning. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Seth Akmal, February 28, 2015.
Police have disrupted the second attempted launch of cartoonist Zunar's latest book, ROS in Kangkongland, and will arrest the satirist if he proceeds with the event on the book featuring the prime minister's wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
Zunar, whose full name is Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, said he was told by police officials that he would require a permit to continue with the launch, held at Brickfields in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, today.
"I don't need a permit for this, this is a private place. I will proceed to sell my books because this is my right, why do you need a permit for a book publication?
"This is a form of intimidation and harassment."
Earlier this morning, he had tweeted: "Kira2 20 polis diketuai asp ramasamy dari balai brickfield utk menangkap saya di lokasi launchinf di brickfields" (About 20 police officers led by ASP Ramasamy from the Brickfields station are here to arrest me at the launch in Brickfields.)
The first book launch on February 14 was distrupted after police confiscated about 200 copies of the book while they were being transported to the event held in Petaling Jaya.
Police at the event today were in uniform as well as in plainclothes.
When approached, the officer identified as ASP Ramasamy told reporters they were only present as part of their crime prevention duties, and said the police were not clear if Zunar had violated any laws.
He said police "have no authority to give any statement regarding the issue" and declined to elaborate, also refusing to give his full name.
Zunar was seen making several phone calls and one of the book launch organisers, Ridzaldy Rafie, said the cartoonist was trying to contact lawyers for assistance.
At 10.45am, however, Ridzaldy and others in the organising team began taking down banners and keeping the books, indicating a temporary end to the event.
"We received a call from Zunar saying that the lawyers had advised him not to continue with the event," Rizaldy said. 
He then told people that they could still buy the books online and started receiving orders.
"ROS in Kangkongland" is a collection of cartoons on Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
The cartoonist also has previous works banned and is currently under police investigation for sedition.
He was held in remand for three days earlier this month after posting on his Twitter account a critical remark about the judiciary following the Federal Court's verdict to uphold Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy conviction.
On February 14 after the first failed book launch, Zunar had said that every time he was detained, his printers would also be raided.
- TMI

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