The Health Ministry has filed a police complaint against political artist Fahmi Reza over two drawings featuring what looked like Health Minister Adham Baba.
Fahmi, 44, who is known for targeting politicians in his caricatures, was questioned by the police at the Putrajaya station today over the two satirical drawings, as part of a probe he possibly slandered the Health Ministry in his works, one of which showed a “Dr. Adham” appearing in a missing person’s poster and another that featured him in an ad inspired by McDonald’s.
“I have been accused of slandering the Health Ministry with my satirical graphics. I will fight these accusations #SatireIsNotACrime,” the artist wrote on Twitter today, including a photo of himself outside the police station.
He also revealed that the McDonald’s-style drawing was the second artwork that the Health Ministry had complained to the police about. The police only revealed the missing person’s style drawing to the press yesterday.
Text on the McDonald’s-style drawing had said: “Overseas travelers can get a 70% discount for your compulsory quarantine period.”
Fahmi had put that up a day after the Health Minister announced that he was shortening the quarantine period for his colleagues returning from overseas to just three days.
— Fahmi Reza (@kuasasiswa) February 10, 2021
Putrajaya police chief Mohd Fadzil Ali told reporters yesterday that the Health Ministry’s complaints were filed in the same month the satirical works were published.
“It is for a case which is being investigated under Section 500 of the Penal Code, and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act, related to a post that contained slander against the Ministry of Health (MOH),” Fadzil said. Violation of the law carries a maximum penalty of RM50,000 (US$12,000) fine and a year in jail.
The other drawing showed a man wearing a “Dr. Adham” name tag and sipping a glass of water. It also had the words “Have you seen this minister?” written on it and described the minister as a “58-year-old man with spiky hair, an orange, long tail, and likes to drink boiled water.”
The poster appears to reference the criticism Adham had been receiving for his lack of public appearances in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Adham had also gone on live television to encourage people to drink boiled water in order to kill COVID-19.
Fahmi had published that drawing to his @Kuasasiswa Twitter page with the caption: “Please find the missing minister!”
TOLONG CARI MENTERI HILANG! pic.twitter.com/GtQllFBzYt
— Fahmi Reza (@kuasasiswa) October 3, 2020
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with details of the second artwork under investigation.
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