"You can ban my cartoon, you can ban my book, but you cannot ban my mind" – Zunar at British Cartoon Museum pic.twitter.com/N8UqRTxe6p
— Zunar Cartoonist (@zunarkartunis) November 4, 2015
Today the Malaysian political cartoonist known as Zunar is getting on a plane today from England to Malaysia, where he faces 43 years in jail for satirising the government of the day.
You and I may not choose to board that plane, and it would be more than enough for him to claim refugee status in the UK as a result, but according to friends of mine who spoke to him at the Cartoon Museum last night where his work has begun to be exhibited, he thinks the fight is worth it.
Over the past two years, the Sedition Act has increasingly become a tool for suppressing free speech across Malaysia. Numerous journalists, government officials and other critical voices have been charged under the guise of sedition, including political cartoonist Zunar.
Following tweets and a cartoon he published in February 2015, Zunar is now facing 43 years in prison if found guilty of nine counts of sedition. His case highlights the Malaysian government’s escalating use of this pre-colonial legislation to weaken and repress freedom of expression across the country.