Umno has resorted to taking potshots at its nemesis via caricatures, some even mocking Pakatan Harapan leaders
If charity has its roots in the home, hypocrisy on the other hand has become synonymous with the annual get-together of the country’s largest political party, Umno.
The annual Umno general assembly which kicked off on Wednesday just about kicked itself in the foot when it resorted to taking potshots at its nemesis via caricatures, some even mocking the opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan leaders.
Apparently the brainchild of former federal minister and Umno information chief Annuar Musa, the caricatures featuring 20 anti-DAP images are on display at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) where Umno’s 71st annual general assembly is going on.
Annuar incidentally was also behind the mischief of organising a contest earlier in the year condemning opposition DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang as being racist. To lure people to rebuke Lim, the prize money was upped from RM10,000 to RM50,000.
Annuar had announced the “contest” in March after an extended exchange with Lim where both went on to accuse each other of being racist.
A dismayed Lim later asked Annuar if the latter would stand liable for a compilation of 16 essays depicting the DAP leader as “racist”.
“I have one question for the Umno information chief Annuar Musa whether he would bear full legal responsibility for the ‘Lim Kit Siang is racist’ writing contest and all the articles which won awards.
“This is the second question for Annuar to answer — how could the Umno information chief launch such a book and whether Umno leaders are above the law?” Lim then decried in a statement.
The book omitted details of the publisher and printer which are legally required by the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) and copies of it were later distributed at an event where Annuar announced the prizes.
Seven months later and a similar shenanigan is playing out at the five-day Umno general assembly. To all intents and purposes, it begs clarity whether freedom of expression is privy to Umno alone.
If not, why then are cartoonists and writers persecuted for using their talent to spotlight the truth, as has been done by the award-winning artist Zunar.
Zunar or Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque was far from pleased with Umno’s antics in deriding the opposition through caricatures, saying it smacked of hypocrisy.
Use assembly to promote peace and unity
Zunar was left perplexed with the zero action stance of the police on exhibitions by Umno lampooning the opposition but wasted no time in reacting to other similar exhibitions in the past.
That Zunar is livid would be an understatement. He, however, remarked:
“My message to Umno. Go ahead, do as many cartoon exhibitions as you want. But my question is, why when I did similar exhibitions with an opposite subject in Penang, why did Umno come and physically attacked me?
“They (Umno) really have no dignity and no shame,” said Zunar.
“When myself and Fahmi Reza did exhibitions, you come arrest us with sedition and multimedia laws, but are silent when Umno does.
“I am not asking police to arrest Umno’s cartoonist. But why (the) double standard?”
Zunar in May last year received the 2016 Cartooning for Peace Award from former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan in Geneva. Yet, his books and T-shirts have been outlawed by Putrajaya.
Indeed, if Annuar can with all ease organise a contest that is seditious and harmful to the nation’s peace and do so yet again at the Umno annual meeting, why are people like Zunar punished repeatedly?
It is truly unfortunate that instead of using the Umno general assembly platform to spread the message of unity and harmony, the party hotshots are doing the reverse, unwittingly spilling the beans about Umno’s insecurity and deeply entrenched hypocrisy.
The opposition has nothing to lose through Umno and Annuar’s tacky attempt at discrediting them, that too at such a delicate time when the 14th general election is just months away from being held.
The joke as it were is still on a beguiling Umno.