The Washington Post

CARTOON OF THE DAY: Malaysian artist on the lost jet — and his government’s ‘weak’ response to it

AS THE MYSTERY surrounding the March 8 disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines plane has deepened with far more questions than answers, Comic Riffs decided to seek out the opinion of a commentator from that country.

Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque — better known by the nom de toon “Zunar” — has long been critical of the Malaysian government, which has jailed the political cartoonist for his work.

So what is Zunar’s take on MH Flight 370 — the Beijing-bound Boeing that vanished with a reported 239 people aboard — as well as on his nation’s response to the confounding event?

“The Malaysian government hid so [much] information about the jet. Now, the government tries to blame the pilot to cover up their own weakness in handling this case,” says Zunar, who in 2010 was arrested and briefly charged with sedition over a book of his political cartoons.

“Should the government act fast and [be] ready to share the information with other countries like the U.S. and China, … it will be a different scenario. But the question is: Why hide it?” continues Zunar, who in 2011 received the Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award from the Cartoonists Rights Network International.

Zunar tells The Post’s Comic Riffs that he holds his government accountable for its response at the highest levels.

“Prime Minister Najib [Razak] only opens his mouth on the seventh day,” he says, “when he sees an opportunity to blame opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim merely by the fact that the pilot, Zaharie [Ahmad Shah], is [an] Anwar supporter.”

Zunar put his opinion to paper in this no-holds-barred artwork, which we spotlight for readers — to weigh and engage, to laud or lambaste — as the Cartoon of the Day:

Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.
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