Aziz Bari expects criminal charges soon, says lawyer
By Shannon Teoh
October 25, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — Prof Dr Abdul Aziz Bari is anticipating that he will face criminal charges “very soon” for allegedly criticising the Selangor Sultan as the police have completed investigations, his lawyer said today.
The law professor (picture), whose suspension by the International Islamic University of Malaysia (UIA) was lifted yesterday after a protest by hundreds of students at its Gombak campus, called the entire process “shameful and a waste of public funds.”
His remarks were contained in a statement released through his lawyer Dr Zulqarnain Lukman.
It was pointed out in the statement that the charges were minor in nature.
The alleged offence under Section 4 of the Sedition Act carries a maximum fine of RM5,000 and three-year jail term and would only fall under the jurisdiction of the Magistrates Court.
“He does not understand why the police came to his house to take pictures both outside and inside as it has nothing to do with the offence.
“Given this scenario and how the police and deputy public prosecutor have treated this case, he could not expect less than the charge to be framed against him very soon,” Zulqarnain added.
He said that three police officers arrived at the academic’s Bandar Baru Selayang home at around 2.30pm today.
“The investigating officer was seen taking notes though nothing was seized from Prof Aziz’s house. The police told us that they have completed investigations,” Zulqarnain said.
The lawyer, calling the investigations “disturbing,” said “as I understand it, the police had earlier sent the investigating papers to the Selangor Head of Prosecution who sent it back with minutes of things to be done in order to complete investigations.”
Zulqarnain had said on behalf of his client yesterday that police had visited Aziz between 4.30pm and 6.30pm, seizing a laptop computer in the process.
Aziz has called the lifting of his recent suspension by his university “meaningless” since he was still under investigation.
The outspoken academic also said UIA Rector Prof Datuk Dr Zaleha Kamaruddin had only ended the suspension to save face for herself and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who were “clearly confused and did not understand” what had happened.
UIA suspended the constitutional law expert last week after he questioned remarks made by the Selangor Sultan in connection with the raid on Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) in August.
Aziz’s statement caused a furore among Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs in Parliament, who urged that action be taken against the don.
He has chosen not to apologise for his remarks even after a police report was lodged against him, insisting he had not meant to challenge the Sultan and was only fulfilling his role as an academic when he said the Sultan had intervened in an “unusual and inconsistent” manner over the church raid.
Hundreds of UIA students gathered at the university’s Gombak campus last week to demand the lecturer’s reinstatement.
Aziz’s colleagues and lecturers from other universities as well as Opposition leaders have also backed the constitutional law expert.