The police have been asked to stop their “silly action and harassment” of a restaurant on mainland Penang for displaying Mao Zedong artwork and caricatures.
PKR assemblyperson Gooi Hsiao Leung found it “unbelievably moronic and idiotic” of Umno supreme council member Mohd Razlan Rafii to call for stern action to be taken against the so-called “communist movement” in Penang.
Razlan said the matter is a threat to national security and will cause unrest among the people.
Gooi’s remarks follow MCA vice-president Tan Teik Cheng who said the wallpaper at the restaurant, which was raided yesterday, was only decorations and the reaction by the authorities was too harsh and “sensitive”.
Saying it happened in his constituency of Bukit Tengah, Gooi rapped the police raid on the restaurant over the caricatures.
During the raid, five of the restaurant workers were hauled in for questioning (two remain in custody), the art was removed, and the restaurant was locked up with the keys confiscated by the police.
“I have spoken to the distraught owners of the restaurant to express my solidarity and support for them and to condemn the barbarous and ill-advised police action,” said Gooi after visiting the venue.
Accompanying Gooi was Seberang Perai municipal councillor Ooi Boon Sheng.
“Only in Malaysia can this happen – where we have both overzealous and birdbrained officials and politicians who will equate pop-culture icons with being a threat to national security,” he said.
“What next, will the authorities also go after everyone selling and wearing Che Guevera T-shirts or close down the popular theme park Escape in Penang, which my family recently visited, which has a huge Che Guevera wall mural as spreading communism and a threat to national security?” Gooi asked.
The former Alor Setar MP said Hunan cuisine is internationally known as “Mao Jia Cai” (Mao’s home cuisine) as Mao Zedong is the most favoured and celebrated son of the Hunan province.
He added that any sensible person would know that caricatures of Mao in Hunan cuisine restaurants have nothing whatsoever to do with spreading communism.
He noted that the police were ill-advised to act upon baseless grounds.
Police are currently investigating the case under section 47 of the Societies Act for publishing propaganda of an unlawful society and section 505(b) of the Penal Code for making or publishing statements with intent to cause fear or alarm to the public.
“This is utter nonsense.
“The police must apologise to the restaurant owners for all the agony and damage suffered by them and immediately put a stop to this baseless and unwarranted investigation,” Gooi urged.
“Please return the keys of the restaurant to the owners so they may resume their business immediately.” – Malaysiakini