KUALA LUMPUR: Controversial cartoonist Zunar has been given the green light to challenge the Home Ministry's move to ban his book entitled ‘Sapuman: Man of Steal’.
The High Court today allowed an application by Zunar, whose real name is Zulkiflee S.M. Anwarul Haque, 55, for leave to initiate a judicial review.
Counsel N. Surendran who represented Zunar said the court allowed the application since no objection was raised by the Attorney-General Chambers (AGC) on the application.
"There was no objection form the AGC and therefore the court granted leave to proceed with the challenge against the prohibition of "Sapuman: Man of Steal".
"In our application we are saying the decision to ban the cartoon book is unreasonable, unconstitutional and breach of the freedom expression. These are the grounds that we will pursue during the substantive stage," he said after the matter came up for hearing in the chambers of judge Datin Azizah Nawawi.
The court fixed Feb 27 for case management.
Senior federal counsel Mazlifah Ayob acted for the Home Ministry and the government who were named as respondents.
Zunar filed his judicial review application on Jan 2, claiming that prohibition of the book was unreasonable, unconstitutional, and was made with malicious intent.
He is seeking an order to quash the ban on the book and a declaration that the ban was null and void and has no effect as it was inconsistent with the purpose of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.
Zunar is also seeking for general and special damages.
Zunar had on Sept 13, 2015, launched the book at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.
The book is one of the cartoonist's book collection which was authored by him that deals with political and current issues in Malaysia in 2015 and was released in series on Facebook in 2016.