GELANG PATAH - The owner of the pre-war shophouse was the one who wanted the new artwork by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic removed, said Johor Baru district officer Amran A. Rahman.
He added that the Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) was only acting on a complaint lodged by the owner.
Amran reminded those who wanted to draw graffiti on walls of privately owned properties or public places to get permission from the relevant quarters first.
"The same rules apply if the building is publicly owned. You have to get permission from the local council first," he said after launching the state-level veteran sports day held at Johor Baru Central Municipal Council (MPJBT) Hall here yesterday.
Amran was asked to comment on Johor Baru mayor Ismail Karim's statement that the MBJB had no issue with Zacharevic's artworks as long as he obtained permission from the authorities.
Zacharevic's new artwork depicted a Lego woman and a boy riding a bicycle which was mounted on a pre-war shophouse in Jalan Pahang, Johor Baru. The bicycle has since been removed and the wall repainted black by the MBJB.
Amran pointed out that during the state-level Merdeka Day countdown celebration held at Dataran Bandaraya earlier this year, one of the Johor government's event was a mural and graffiti art exhibition.
MBJB then displayed the graffiti at the same location for several weeks.
"This shows the state government really encourages people to show their artistic side to the public, but street artists must be responsible by getting permission first."
This is the second time the MBJB has removed Zacharevic's artwork. In November, he had done a graffiti at a shop in Taman Molek showing a knife-wielding masked Lego character waiting to pounce on a female victim.