Cartoonist Zunar came under fire for his comic strip which appeared in the Washington Post, which mocked the Malaysian prime minister and the multi-national effort in search of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight.
The comic, which described Najib Tun Razak as "Too Weak" as the search for the missing aircraft entered "Week Two" drew flak from various quarters.
Head of politics, security, and international affairs cluster, Professor Dr. Mohamed Mustafa Ishak described Zunar’s comic as insensitive and misleading.
He said Zunar’s claim that Malaysia was hiding facts was preposterous.
"It is impossible to hide facts when multi-national forces are roped in to help in the search and rescue mission," he said, adding it reflected great transparency.
"Science and technology is used in the search and rescue mission, and information is released based on hard facts and evidence, and not based on mere speculation and wild allegation," he said.
He said even developed countries were involved in the search using state-of-the-art tools to help locate the Boeing 777-200 ferrying 239 passengers and crew that went missing on March 18.
Mustafa said this in response to Zunar’s comic posted in the Washington Post's Comic Riffs section, with an accompanying article "Cartoon of the Day: Malaysian artist on the lost jet - and his government’s ‘weak’ response to it" published on March 18.
Zunar, whose real name is Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, claimed that the government was trying to blame the pilot of the missing plane to cover up their weakness after it was exposed that the latter was a supporter of opposition leader Anwar.
Mustafa said the matter should not be politicised because it involved the life and well-being of human beings.
Kelab Warisan Malaysia president Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz also hit out at Zunar for ridiculing Najib.
"Our prime minister has proven his diplomatic capability as he has succeeded in getting so many countries to help in the search using their own budget.
"That shows that Najib is not a weak leader," he said.
Mohd Khairul, who is also a lawyer, said Zunar’s claim that Najib only made statement on Day 7 of the search was not true, as he had already call a press conference on Day 1 to announce that the aeroplane had gone missing.
He also lambasted the Washington Post for giving space for people to make baseless statements.
"When four commercial flights were hijacked simultaneously in the United States prior to the twin tower attacks in 2001, the media in other parts of the world did not ridicule the United States government.
"How low can the Washington Post stoop when the family members of the missing crew and passengers are waiting in agony, hoping for the return of loved ones?" he asked. (***)