KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 — The prosecution over a caricature of the prime minister showed that authorities were concerned by the sentiment behind the image, graphics artist Fahmi Reza asserted today after he was charged over the illustration.
He expressed surprise over the traction his image was gaining, adding that it resonated strongly with younger Malaysians.
“If it wasn’t effective, they would’ve just ignored it. This shows that I’m doing something right,” he said when speaking to reporters after he was released on bail following a four-hour stint in the Sessions Court lockup.
“It connects with a lot of the people especially the younger generation who are buying and wearing the T-shirts proudly, and sharing their photos wearing the T-shirts on their social media accounts,” he added.
Despite the two charges under the Communications and Multimedia Act against, both related to his sketch, he said that he was undeterred.
Fahmi insisted he would keep posting satirical images of political leaders, and that he was prepared for any consequence that could follow.
He insisted that his efforts to speak out against alleged wrongdoings by political leaders were not solely a personal enterprise, but one for the benefit of all Malaysians.
He urged Malaysians to stand up and protect their rights, which he said would be taken away unless they fought the government’s efforts to curb essential liberties such as freedom of expression.
“Yes, I’m prepared to go to jail for my art, for our right as citizens to speak up against corruption, against injustice. So yes, if it means I have to go to jail then I’ll go to jail for that,” he said.
The 39-year-old graphic designer was charged today under Section 233(1) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 posting on social media an image depicting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in clown make-up.
The activist faces a RM50,000 fine, a one-year jail term, or both.
Fahmi may face another charge under the same section of the Act, for allegedly posting a fake Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission poster, also bearing the clown caricature, on his Facebook page on February 8.
On Saturday, Fahmi was also detained and questioned under the Sedition Act for selling #KitaSemuaPenghasut T-shirts.