KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 ― The editor-in-chief of Chinese-language daily Nanyang Siang Pau was today called up by the Home Ministry over the publication of its monkey caricature depicting Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and PAS president and MP Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.
In a statement, the ministry said the action was taken 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”.
“It also indirectly mocks Parliament and Islam because Act 355 as depicted in the caricature is related to Islamic affairs,” the ministry said.
It added that a show-cause letter has been issued under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and the newspaper has three days to respond.
It also said further action will be taken based on existing regulations and procedures.
Nanyang came under fire after it published a cartoon titled “Monkey Act” on April 8, two days after Hadi tabled his controversial private member’s Bill in Parliament to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, better known by its Malay short form, RUU355.
The vernacular paper has since apologised for the caricature, which featured a monkey with a songkok labelled “Speaker” while the other sported a turban and identified as “Hadi Awang” atop a tree named “Act 355”, and removed it from its digital edition.
Despite that, PAS and Umno groups held protests and filed police complaints demanding stern action, including withdrawing Nanyang’s publication permit, for what they see as an insulting act to Islam, the religion of over 60 per cent of Malaysians.