KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 ― PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said he is forgiving Chinese daily Nanyang Siang Pau for publishing a monkey caricature of him and Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.
The Marang MP who said he received a formal apology from Nanyang on April 12 also asked fellow Muslims who have been offended by the cartoon to forgive the media outlet
“I urge fellow Muslims who have been offended by the caricature to join me in forgiving the newspaper with hope that this act will not be repeated in the future,” he said in a statement posted on Facebook yesterday.
He put down the issue to ignorance on Islamic sensitivities by non-Muslims.
“I feel that the publishing mistake occurred due their ignorance in understanding the fine limits of religious sensitivities,” Abdul Hadi said.
On April 8, Nanyang published a cartoon with the title “Monkey Act” that featured two monkeys sitting on a tree titled “Act 355”, one wearing a songkok marked as “Speaker” and the other in a turban named “Hadi Awang”, referencing the latter’s tabling of his private member’s Bill in Parliament two days prior that aimed to strengthen the Shariah courts’ punitive powers.
Hadi proposed to amend Act 355, the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, to increase the Islamic courts’ sentencing limits to 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine, and 100 lashes from the current maximum sentencing of three years’ jail, RM5,000 fine and six lashes.
Nanyang has since withdrawn the caricature from its website and apologised for its publication.
The Home Ministry, which had issued a show-cause letter to the paper, has also let it off with a stern warning.