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Clowning aside, artists now invite netizens to 'catch Najib'
Published:  Feb 8, 2016 8:46 AM
Updated: 12:56 AM

After inspiring a flood of caricatures of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in clown face, graphic artists from the Grupa yesterday introduced another round of fun – this also at the PM’s expense.

This time, followers of Grupa – or Grafik Rebel Untuk Protes & Aktivisme - are invited to “catch Najib” through an animated GIF file uploaded onto the group’s Facebook page.

In the GIF best viewed on mobile devices, three caricatures of Najib stream down the page, inviting social media to hit pause at the right time.

In the group’s trademark dark humour, the ‘right time’ is when all three caricatures of the PM – one holding RM2.6 billion, another holding a box labelled 1MDB, and another holding a buxom woman’s hand – are behind bars.

“Please help! Help catch this man!” the caption on the GIF reads.

Minta bantuan! Tolong tangkap mamat ni!Berapa kali kamu cuba sebelum dapat tangkap? Share dalam ruangan komen dengan screenshot. No cheating!#KitaSemuaPenghasut

Posted by GRUPA on Saturday, February 6, 2016

The GIF comes after police warned that those found guilty of ridiculing leaders could face one year in prison or a fine of RM50,000 under Section 223 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.

Not cowed, Grupa followers are invited to take a screenshot of their success in nabbing the caricatures, and share how many tries it took them.

The GIF has been shared on Facebook more than 1,800 times within the first 10 hours of uploading at Grupa’s page and more than 700 times on the anti-establishment Facebook page ‘Curi-curi Wang Malaysia’.

About 300 people have commented under the GIF, with screenshots showing they managed to catch the running caricatures, as at 11.30pm yesterday.

“I tried 10 times, but missed as they were so slippery with lots of crony protection!” one exasperated social media user said on 'Curi-curi Wang Malaysia'.

Another Facebook user quipped: “Caught them, but then they were released by the AG.”

But not everyone is amused.

“Not funny guys, show some respect,” one person remarked on the Grupa page over another animated GIF of what looked like Najib in a jester suit.

Najib has been cleared of wrongdoing in relation to the RM2.6 billion (US$681 million) found in his personal bank accounts.

Attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali said Najib received a donation from the Saudi royal family and returned US$620 million. He did not say what the PM did with the remaining US$61 million, or what the donation was for.

Graphic artists have over the past week uploaded caricatures of Najib in clown face in solidarity with artist Fahmi Reza ( photo ), who is under police watch after he uploaded his sketch online.

The sketch, part of an anti-Sedition Act campaign, features Najib in clown face and carries the words ‘Kita Semua Penghasut’ (We are all seditious).

Fahmi received the warning via Twitter from the Police Cyber Investigation Response Centre special unit.

Pro-BN NGO Gerakan Merah also lodged a police report on Fahmi’s sketch, alleging that it could influence the rakyat to hate Najib.

Defiantly, a stream of caricatures of Najib in clown face continues to fill the page, which is making headlines worldwide.

The identities of the 50 graphic designers said to make up Grupa remain shrouded.

“We choose to remain anonymous at the public level not because of fear, but because this project is not about us as individual designers, but about the causes that we are highlighting, and the movement we are trying to build as a collective through Grupa,” the group said.