Fahmi Reza Challenges UKM Lawsuit Over His Satirical Frog Graphics

ArtAsiaPacific: Malaysian Artist Fahmi Reza Jailed For Mocking Prime Minister
source: ArtAsiaPacific

Fahmi Reza is no stranger to lawsuits so this new development wouldn’t come as a shocker to most of us who are aware of his political and satirical artwork.

Fahmi was hit with another lawsuit recently and this time, he’s going head-to-head with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) who accused the artist of “insulting” their institution with his latest artwork.

According to the controversial artist, the artwork was supposed to symbolise Communications Minister Saifuddin Abdullah’s reputation for political party hopping. With that, he figured the most fitting image to illustrate this would be through frogs accompanied by the text, “Universiti Katak Kebangsaan.”

What landed him into trouble was the similarity between his logo and the actual UKM logo. Not only were the colours he used reminiscent of the university’s sigil, but the placement of the frogs also resembled the latter’s logo.

The artist took to Twitter to share the lawsuit and how the university was suing him and initiating a police investigation towards him.

As always, Fahmi sticks by his right to create satirical posts in the name of free speech. The official statement against the artist was also posted to his social media platform whereby it states that Fahmi should delete the posts within a 7-day period. The university then stated that they will not hesitate to pursue legal action if he refuses to cooperate.

Here’s the statement in full:

Fahmi Reza rose to fame after his iconic Najib-clown design was adopted by the masses to criticised former PM Najib Razak’s involvement in the 1MDB scandal. The artist-activist has since gone on to create more controversial artwork on a constant basis criticising corruption and unfair policies.

Fahmi claimed trial in June 2016 to two separate criminal charges at two different courts (KL and Ipoh) involving the uploading of the image of the Najib-clown. In 2018, he was acquitted of charges against him at the KL court, but he was found guilty and convicted at the Ipoh court and imprisoned for one month and fined RM30,000.

Prior to that, in another case against the police and KL City Hall (DBKL) in 2015, he donated his court win of RM38,000 (compensation for being wrongfully detained) to a fund to help protest movements fighting against injustice and power abuses in Malaysia.