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Friday, July 31, 2015

Article on Sultans getting involved in politics lands Aziz Bari in hot water

Constitutional expert Prof Aziz Bari is being investigated under the Sedition Act for an article on Sultans being involved in politics. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Seth Akmal, July 31, 2015.Constitutional expert Prof Aziz Bari is being investigated under the Sedition Act for an article on Sultans being involved in politics. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Seth Akmal, July 31, 2015.
Constitutional expert Prof Aziz Bari was hauled up under the Sedition Act for an article in which he argued that Sultans should not get involved in politics or in the affairs of their respective state governments.
Aziz’s lawyer Zulhazmi Shariff said his client was called up by police to give a statement today under Section 4 (1) of the Act.
This was in relation to the article Aziz penned titled “Rulers flexing muscle in several states unhealthy” which was published on May 7 in news portal Malaysiakini.
Aziz, who was also interviewed by the media, said that he elected not to answer questions from the police while giving his statement.
He said the article was a commentary on the actions of the Sultans of Johor, Selangor and Perak, and how in a constitutional monarchy, rulers should refrain from getting involved in politics.
The commentary on the Sultan of Johor touched on what he said about the education system, that it should follow Singapore's model while in the case of the Sultan of Perak, it was how he did not want to take pictures with state legislators who wore black, Aziz said.
“For the Sultan of Selangor, it was about the water agreement. Sultans as constitutional monarchs should not make political comments.
“Questions on policy are sensitive and political and it’s best the Sultans do not comment on them,” said Aziz.
In the article, Aziz had said in the Westminster parliamentary system, which Malaysia practices, it was improper for monarchs to give their personal opinions during official functions.
For instance, the speeches during the opening of the Parliament and state assemblies should be about government policies and not the rulers’ personal views.
“This practice of giving personal views not only embarrasses the elected government but also questions as to whether Sultans are above politics,” Aziz wrote in the piece.
Zulhazmi, meanwhile, questioned why it took so long for the police to take action against Aziz given that the article was published on close to three months ago.
“It’s strange to me as the article was uploaded on May 7 and it was only now that he is being questioned. May be it’s because he recently joined DAP.”
Aziz, who was formerly a PKR member and the party’s candidate for the Sabak Bernam parliamentary seat, had joined DAP yesterday.
- TMI

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