A Malaysian cartoonist known for lampooning the scandal-plagued prime minister and his family has been arrested for sedition, a move denounced as the latest sign of pressure on government critics.
Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque – who goes by the pen name Zunar – was arrested in Penang state where he was participating in a literary festival.
Penang district police chief, Mior Faridalathrash Wahid, said Zunar was arrested “under the sedition act”. He declined to give details.
Festival organisers and participants condemned the arrest in a statement.
“Levels of repression are reaching dangerous levels in Malaysia,” said Michael Vatikiotis, a writer at the festival.
“The fact that Zunar’s arrest happened at the George Town Literary Festival, with dozens of international writers and artists, only underscores the government’s disregard for freedom of expression.”
Dozens of government critics, including opposition politicians, academics, activists, and journalists, have been arrested in recent years for sedition or other charges that rights and …