Monday, May 30, 2016

Dear friends

What better way to reign in the royal weekend in Victoria, the Queen’s birthday long weekend than discussing sedition with none other than Zunar, Malaysia’s best known multi-award winning cartoonist, who is facing 43 years of jail time in Malaysia for alleged sedition over his outspoken criticism through satiric cartoons of Malaysia’s administration. (If you still need an introduction to Zunar, the cartoons you typically see in the Malaysiakini website are his works of art!)

So how did the law surrounding sedition, which was rooted in early 1600s England, at a time when the divine right of royalty was above criticism and therefore unlawful become so popular in 21st century Malaysia?
The British colonists are said to have been draconian with this law in that the application of sedition laws in the British colonies was aimed at suppressing any opposition and any challenge to British rule irrespective of whether any act of violence or disorder was likely to follow
 With the British colonists long gone, why do we still need this draconian act that oppresses intellect and creativity in Zunar’s case? So much so that our parliamentarians can’t talk about certain matter of public interest within the confines of the Parliament itself – the very reason they were elected in the first place. Has the application of gone overboard when a cartoonist is made to face 43 years of jail time? 
One other issue of late is 1MDB, one of Malaysia’s development funds and the alleged misuse of these funds to finance politics in Malaysia and ensuring corruption allegations. Like many of us, Zunar takes a keen interest on 1MDB and has made it the subject of many of his recent works. 
So why is money needed in politics? Is money in politics evil all and corrupt all together or is money genuinely part of the cost of democracy and real world politics? 

To explore sedition and the cost of democracy in more depth, SABM Australia has organised two FREE events with Zunar in Melbourne when he is in Melbourne from 10 June 2016 to 11 June 2016. Refer to details below.

Event Details:

1. Sembang-sembang and Doodle with Zunar
 Date: 6.15 to 8.30pm on Friday 10 June 2016 Venue: Blue Room Melbourne Multicultural Hub 506 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, 3000 

2. Public Seminar on Sedition and the Cost of Democracy (together with senior academicians from Melbourne Law School)
Date: 2.30pm to 5pm on Saturday 11 June 2016 Venue: Law-G08, Melbourne Law School 185 Pelham Street, Carlton 
While these events are free to attend, donations to cover costs are most welcome. SABM t-shirts and Zunar’s latest book will also be available for sale – both priced at $25 each.

What you can do to help:

1. Please click going through facebook page here --> 

2. Invite and share details of the events on Friday and Saturday with your friends and networks along with attachments in this email

 3. If you can't attend, you can always help by sharing details of the events on Friday and Saturday with your friends - by adding them to the facebook invite above and by sending them this email with the attachments.

Note that while these events are free to attend, donations to cover associated expenses are welcomed. SABM t-shirts and Zunar’s latest book will also be available for sale – both priced at $25 each.

Come along to explore sedition and the cost of democracy with Zunar and the other speakers in more depth and engage in discussion of the things that affect all of us. 

Remember, while a life of contemplation and solitude can indeed be satisfying, life of contemplation backed by action can be even more gratifying.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Hope to see you all there.

Salam Bersih

Thank you.

For SABM Australia,
Praveen Nagappan

Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia(GBM)
Plan of Action for Malaysia  (PoAM) 
First Floor, No. 1, Jln Maharajalela, 50150 Kuala Lumpur.
Phone: 03 2272 3594/017 3985 606     Fax:03 2272 4089
Email: infogpoam