Do politicians and rulers have anything to worry about when it comes to the influence of art in politics?

This year alone, Fahmi Reza, a Malaysian political graphic designer and activist has been questioned by police five times for publishing his work on social media. Last month in May, it was for his satire piece depicting Malaysia’s health minister in a missing person’s poster. The month before that, it was for allegedly insulting the queen with a Spotify playlist.

On this episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Deborah Augustin speaks to Sharon Chin, a Malaysian artist, about her thoughts on protest art and whether political satire is an effective tool when it comes to challenging people in power.

Kelly Anissa

Kelly Anissa is a journalist based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She is New Naratif’s Bahasa Melayu/Malaysia Editor. Previously, Kelly worked as a producer and presenter at BFM 89.9, a Malaysian radio station for current affairs. She has done work on a wide range of areas, covering environmental issues, policy and legal reforms in Malaysia, regional politics and health journalism. Outside of work, Kelly works on short films. You can reach her at

Deborah Germaine Augustin

Deborah Germaine Augustin is a Malaysian writer and researcher. Previously, she worked as a Parliamentary Assistant for the MP of Kelana Jaya. She is currently working on a cross-genre chapbook about immigration in the United States. She is New Naratif's Member Engagement Coordinator. Reach her at

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