Police investigations as well as Universiti Islam Antarabangsa’s (UIA) suspension of Abdul Aziz should immediately be dropped, the Universiti Malaya Academic Staff Union (PKAUM) said in a strongly-worded statement today.
It also defended Abdul Aziz’s recent remarks critiquing the Selangor Sultan, saying that “a criticism of a Ruler is valid if it is intended to constructively show that the Ruler has erred.”
Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah had decreed recently that the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) had found evidence of proselytisation by non-Muslims during a dinner held at the DUMC on August 3 but said it was insufficient for further legal action.
Following Abdul Aziz’s (picture) statement that the intervention was “unusual and inconsistent” and should have been done in line with Islamic teachings, it caused a furore in Parliament among Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs who urged action to be taken against the IIUM law lecturer.
Although a police report has been lodged against him, the outspoken academician has decided against apologising for his remarks, insisting he had not meant to challenge the Sultan.
“In the case of Professor Aziz, what he has done is merely to suggest that a Ruler has acted beyond his Constitutional bounds. This is a legitimate comment with no statement, direct or implied, made to incite hatred against the Ruler,” PKAUM president Azmi Sharom said today.
The law academic said the action taken by the police and UIA in probing Abdul Aziz and suspending him of his duties will only “instil fear” in the academic community and halt any development in the country’s intellectual capacity.
Azmi also said that the Sedition Act ought not to have been used in the first place and that it should be repealed “due to the vast potential of abuse against fundamental freedoms of expression that it carries.”
UIA has suspended Prof Dr Abdul Aziz Bari pending investigations into his remarks on the Selangor Sultan’s recent decree.
The suspension order was issued in the show-cause letter sent to the law professor yesterday.
When contacted by The Malaysian Insider today, Aziz said he would leave the matter in the hands of his lawyer.
His lawyer Dr Dzulkarnain Lukman confirmed the suspension includes Aziz being barred from campus to meet with its staff or any person of position within the university.
“According to the show-cause letter, these criteria will be in place until the conclusion of the inquiry,” he said, adding that Aziz has been given until 4pm on October 25 to respond to the letter.
Dzulkarnain also confirmed that Aziz is facing action under Article 15(1) of the university’s disciplinary orders for his statement published on Malaysiakini, which is said to have tarnished UIA’s image.
“I was made to understand this is the third time that Professor Aziz Bari has been issued a show-cause letter,” said Dzulkarnain, adding he was unaware of the reasons or contents of the previous two letters.
It is believed, however, this is the first time the law professor has been barred from entering the university.
Police opened investigations into Aziz’s statement under the Sedition Act yesterday, following a report lodged by Umno Senator Ezam Mohd Nor on October 1.
It is believed that at least five police reports have been lodged against the professor.
On Monday, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had also questioned Aziz.