A group of university students has reported political artist Fahmi Reza to the police over a satirical artwork they deemed as offensive.
Fahmi, 44, told Coconuts today that he has yet to hear from the police over the complaint, which was shared online by a student from the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, or UKM. The students had accused Fahmi of “insulting” them through a satirical artwork of a school logo they said resembled that of their institution.
Fahmi said that the art had nothing to do with them.
“It is just a satirical, fictitious logo for a fictitious [frog] university that gave out that fictitious master’s degree,” he said, adding: “It has nothing to do with UKM. In the original posting, I did not even mention UKM.”
Fahmi, who goes by the name Kuasasiswa on Twitter, put up that drawing on Monday in response to news reports targeting Communications Minister Saifuddin Abdullah’s reputation of jumping ship between political parties. The reports had quoted veteran UMNO party member Shahrir Abdul Samad, who said that Saifuddin should be awarded a master’s degree in party-hopping. And what better way to illustrate that than with frogs, which Fahmi had drawn in a logo he posted on the same day, calling it “National University of Frogs.”
UKM’s logo is not too different from many other university logos, containing symbols such as a tiger, a hibiscus, an atom, and what their website describes as a “symbol of technology.” The logo also showed an open book, which symbolizes knowledge.
According to Fahmi, he had only found out about the police complaint on Facebook, after university student Akmal Hakim announced it yesterday.
“The original logo of our institution has been edited with images of frogs, which many in the UKM community find insulting,” said Akmal Hakim, who represents UKM’s student body.
“Even though it was a satirical political poster, it’s clearly insulting towards a neutral educational institution that has nothing to do with the current political climate,” he added. Photos showed Akmal and several others outside a police station.
Akmal also urged the authorities to investigate Fahmi for “obscene” or “indecent” communication under the Communications and Multimedia Act.
UKM did not immediately respond to Coconuts’ request for comment.
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This article, Frog art was work of fiction, not linked to Malaysian university: Fahmi Reza, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.