|Comic mag with Najib waving Mongolian flag seized|
The Home Ministry today confiscated 408 copies of humour magazine Gedung Kartun which featured a caricature of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak waving a Mongolian flag and shouting Merdeka on the front cover of its inaugural issue.
The 10.45am raid was carried out by the ministry’s Publication Control and Al Quran Text division at the publisher Sepakat Efektif Sdn Bhd in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.
According to ministry officials, the bi-weekly magazine, which specializes in political satire, was being published without a permit thus violating Section 5 (1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.
Magazine editor Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, better known as Zunar, said a written approval has been granted by the Home Ministry for the publication.
Did not expect this treatment
“We went ahead with publishing the magazine without getting the black and white due to government bureaucracy – it takes three months to obtain the letter.
“We definitely didn’t expect this kind of treatment. We expected a warning letter for the content,” said the former editor of PKR party organ Suara Keadilan.
Marketed as an ‘alternative comic magazine’, the publication touched on many current affairs.
Among the issues featured were the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock, highway toll prices, teaching of science and mathematics in English, the Internal Security Act and the Port Klang Free Zone scandal.
Other than cartoons, the magazine includes various articles and political satires written by notable writers such as Hishamuddin Rais, Pyanhabib and Rahmat Haron.
Though normally associated with more serious publications, national laureate A Samad Said and political scientist Farish A Noor also contributed articles to the first issue.
A total of 10,000 copies were printed for the inaugural issue which cost RM4 in Peninsula Malaysia and RM5 in Sabah and Sarawak. Copies have already hit newsstands.
‘Get your license first’
Meanwhile, Publication Control and Al Quran Text division acting director Zainal Abidin Osman confirmed that the raid was conducted because Gedung Kartun did not possess a publishing permit.
He said the magazine was not allowed to be published even though it has obtained a publishing permit number (PP).
“It is not just a formality. If you don’t have a (written) permit, please don’t publish yet. Once it is official, then you can print.
“The written permit is like taking a driving test. Once you pass the exam, you still can’t drive until you obtain a license,” he said when contacted.