KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — The High Court today set April 4 for the assessment of damages that would be awarded to cartoonist Zunar after the Home Ministry revoked the ban on his book titled, Sapuman: Man of Steal.
The date was fixed by senior assistant registrar Firdaus Sidqi Sharil Azli in his chambers after hearing submissions from counsel Zaid Malek, who represented Zunar whose real name is Zulkiflee SM Anwarul Haque, and senior federal counsel Jamilah Jamil who acted on behalf of the home minister and the Government of Malaysia as respondents.
Zaid told reporters that today was fixed to hear submissions from both parties on the assessment of general and special damages that would be awarded to the cartoonist.
On February 12, 2018, Zunar obtained permission from the High Court here to initiate a judicial review.
However, when hearing the judicial review application on August 9, 2018, the High Court here was informed that the Attorney General’s Chambers had received a letter from the Home Ministry confirming that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had cancelled the ban on the book on August 2 of the same year.
The letter stated that Dr Mahathir, who was then the home minister, had decided to lift the ban on the book Sapuman: Man of Steal, which was gazetted on October 3, 2017.
The court also decided that the damages to be awarded to the cartoonist would begin from the period the ban was in force
Zunar filed an application on January 2 last year, among others, to revoke the home minister’s order dated October 3, 2017 on the ban of the book and seeking a declaration that the order was invalid because it violates the Constitution and is ultra vires under Section 7 of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.
Based on the supporting affidavit filed with the application, Zunar said he had launched his new book on the current political issues in Malaysia at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on September 13, 2015.
The cartoonist also claimed the home minister through a federal government gazette issued an order under Subsection 7 (1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 prohibiting the printing, importation, production, publication, sale, distribution and possession of the book throughout Malaysia.
Zunar also claimed news stated the reason for banning the book may be because the caricatures were deemed prejudicial to public order. — Bernama