GEORGE TOWN: A restaurant in Pulau Tikus has been allowed to operate as usual after the removal of a wallpaper featuring communist leader Mao Zedong.
George Town OCPD Asst Comm Soffian Santong (pic) said the police would, however, take action to close down the premises if the owner decided to put up communist-themed wallpaper in future.
"As of now, there are no instructions from the higher authorities to close down the premises.
"The case will be referred to the deputy public prosecutor after investigations," he said.
Meanwhile, Central Seberang Prai OCPD Asst Comm Shafee Abd Samad said the case at the restaurant in Bukit Mertajam was still under investigation.
"The owner of the restaurant is still undergoing Covid-19 quarantine.
"We are still investigating the case," he said.
On Saturday (Jan 2), police removed the wallpaper after raiding the premises in Bukit Mertajam following a public tip-off.
The 764.5cm x 213cm wallpaper featured an image of Mao, a soldier holding a red book and a group of soldiers.
Police also seized four small cups bearing Mao’s face and detained the 23-year-old manager of the restaurant for further investigation.
The Chinese national wife of the restaurant owner explained that the posters had actually featured humorous depictions of the good food available in China’s Henan province.
The posters did not contain any messages of the Communist ideology, said the woman, who did not want to be named.
She said the wallpaper carried funny Chinese phrases and was meant to welcome patrons.
At present, the restaurant owner is under Covid-19 quarantine.
State Criminal Investigation Department chief SAC Rahimi Ra’ais said similar wallpaper at both outlets in Bukit Mertajam and Pulau Tikus had been removed.
Police are investigating the motive for the Communist-themed decorations.
The case is being investigated under Section 47 of the Societies Act for publishing propaganda of an unlawful society and Section 505(b) of the Penal Code for making, publishing or circulating any statement with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, alarm to the public.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the police should use discretion before acting against the restaurant owner.
He said the police should be able to differentiate between what is communist propaganda and advertising gimmicks before taking action.
"The explanation by the restaurant owner showed that the wallpaper was merely a decoration and it should be treated as such," said Chow after visiting the Kawan food distribution centre here Monday (Jan 4).