KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 — Political artist Fahmi Reza was arrested earlier this evening over an artwork depicting what appears to be an ape in a monarch’s clothing, his lawyer Rajsurian Pillai said on Twitter.
Fahmi, believed to be the artist behind the work, will be investigated for sedition and a breach of Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act, according to his lawyer.
The activist was arrested by the Classified Criminal Investigations Department (USJT) at 4.20pm and is currently being held at Dang Wangi police district headquarters.
A police remand order will be filed at 9am tomorrow.
@kuasasiswa— Rajsurian Pillai (@rajsurian) April 14, 2022
Fahmi Reza telah ditangkap pada pukul 4.20pm. Tangkapan oleh USJT Bukit Aman di IPD Dang Wangi. Siasatan di bawah s.4 Akta Hasutan dan s.233 AKM untuk posting Beruk di FB semalam . Dia akan dibawa untuk permohonan reman esok jam 9am di lokap IPD DW. @yoester83 pic.twitter.com/zG5n3jLkRF
The said art, depicting an ape in yellow clothing that resembles the attire worn by monarchs, was said to have been published on Fahmi’s official Facebook page yesterday.
On Tuesday, most news outlets reported Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah buying a painting depicting primates and frogs arguing in the Dewan Rakyat, believed to be a critique against the government and opposition lawmakers.
The news reports drew keen attention.
It is unclear whether the artwork published on Fahmi’s Facebook page was made in relation to the artwork bought by the Selangor ruler.
Shortly after the artwork was published on Fahmi’s Facebook page, the artist posted a message on Twitter stating “if we can accept and not censor satirical art that makes others as apes, then we must also accept and not censor the satirical work that depicts us as apes.”
The message was ended with the “#satireisnotacrime”.