Aziz Bari – a critical test case

Prof Aziz Bari has become a critical test case whether Malaysia is moving towards greater democrartisation, academic excellence and enhanced International oompetitiveness or the reverse.

The suspension of Aziz by IIUM could not have come at a worse time for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s National Transformation Programme whether government, economic or political.

It has firstly thrown into doubt Najib’s political will, commitment and stamina whether the Prime Minister and his administration are prepared to see through the wide-ranging government, economic, educational and political reforms without which Malaysia stands no chance of escaping from two decades of middle-income trap, overtaken by one country after another most notably Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea.

Malaysia cannot expect to achieve the goal of a high-income developed nation unless and until we can produce world-class universities, not just in the eyes of Ministers but acknowledged internationally.

The failure of any Malaysian university to get into the recently-released Times Higher Education (THE) World Top 400 Universities Ranking 2011-2012 is powerful testimony that Malaysia is not doing enough to train, retain and recruit talents to transform our economy into a knowledge economy so as to restore our international competitiveness.

The suspension and persecution of Aziz Bari for expressing his views and comments will be a message to the international academic community that Malaysia is not prepared to accept and respect academic freedom resulting in worsening of brain drain of Malaysian talents and condemning the Talents Corporation to failure to attract brain gain from the Malaysian diaspora and the world intellectual resources.

Politically, Aziz’s suspension has come as a slap-in-the-face for Najib’s recent claim of wanting to make Malaysia ‘the best democracy in the world”. If Najib is sincere, then the curbs and fetters undermining academic freedom and excellence like the Universities and University Colleges Act should be repealed! But instead we have the Aziz Bari persecution – reminder that the undemocratic mentality and mindset of repression in key institutions in the country are still in full control of the levers of power despite all the sloganeering about democratization and political transformation.

Why was Aziz Bari arbitrarily suspended at variance with Najib’s call for democratisatio and government, economic and political transformation? Is Najib being sabotaged from inside his party and government?

Najib’s should direct that the suspension of Aziz by IIUM be revoked immediately and cause an investigation why his call for democratization and government, economic and political transformation is being flouted so blatantly by his own subordinates in government and party!

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Saturday, 22 October 2011 - 5:11 pm

    The ability to think and criticize is the very basic requirement of a lecturer. It is sad to see the government stifle academic talent.

    The country will not progress if we have leaders whose mindsets still stay in the 1960s era.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Saturday, 22 October 2011 - 6:39 pm

    Ref #1:
    The word “criticize” in #1 above means give an opinion about a book, poem, film, etc.

  3. #3 by Loh on Saturday, 22 October 2011 - 8:43 pm

    ///SERDANG, Oct 22 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Lim Guan Eng denying sexual harassment claims against his son was inadequate.

    The deputy prime minister told reporters today that if the Penang chief minister “thinks it is important to correct the information, then he has to come up with a strong statement.///–MalaysianInsider

    Muhyiddin by those words gave support to UMNO members to ‘sexualize’ politics even to include persons who are not yet eligible to vote. How low can Muhyiddin go, both his brain power and his level of ethics? And he is just a heart beat away from being PM. Maybe his beat should go first.

  4. #4 by monsterball on Saturday, 22 October 2011 - 9:23 pm

    First they act….suspended him…then got cold feet seeing Malaysians are unhappy..of the suspension.
    Now they tell U ….to release the suspension.
    How many times have we seen their stupid wayang kulit slap back at their faces?

  5. #5 by tak tahan on Saturday, 22 October 2011 - 11:24 pm

    Yalah..but never mind lah…hopefully PR reigned in and we got liberated lor.No more wayang but real democratic country.ABU!ABU!ABU!Any nothing else matters.Otherwise F your own Ar## if that is what you want!!

  6. #6 by tak tahan on Saturday, 22 October 2011 - 11:35 pm

    Should be ‘nothing else matters’.Nice song from mettalica anyway.Cheers!

  7. #7 by tak tahan on Saturday, 22 October 2011 - 11:39 pm

    Should be ‘And nothing else matters’.Aiyah cheung hei also lah gua.Wakakaka

  8. #8 by sightseeing on Sunday, 23 October 2011 - 3:28 am

    //SERDANG, Oct 22 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Lim Guan Eng denying sexual harassment claims against his son was inadequate.//

    Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the brood of viper, how can he who is evil says anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

  9. #9 by boh-liao on Sunday, 23 October 2011 - 4:19 am

    Dumb Mooo must first command UM 2 publish d boob-grabbing foto n accuse d son of outraging d chess player on its front page mah; then rakyat will watch d fireworks

    Frankly rakyat n d whole world so tired of blatant n crude LIES of corrupt UmnoB/BN
    D day rakyat kick corrupt UmnoB/BN liars out of their Putrajaya lair, d world leaders will hail their demise n rejoice at d end of dis long n painful rule by corrupt racist UmnoB/BN

    Rakyat need 2 start a new page in our history 2 heal d divided nation, 2 get rid of UmnoB-centric corruption, n 2 rebuild our economy, judiciary system, civil service, polis, etc

    Let dis AB’s test case b d beacon dat lightens d path 2 d eventual downfall of UmnoB/BN; time 4 a M’sian SPRING n LIBERATION, UBAH, ABU

  10. #10 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 23 October 2011 - 6:06 am

    According to Malaysian Insider report 22nd Oct there seems to be a flip flop going on in IIUM. The Rector now says that Prof Aziz Bari is free to enter the University to associate with faculty. This is inconsistent with what Aziz Bari says- that his suspension letter clearly stipulates that he cannot enter IIUM premises, conduct business or contact staff during suspension with the law dean’s permission. And the Prof has a black and white letter to prove what he says. This flip flop shows a changing scenario and IIUM and its Rector being clearly now under “pressure” instead. Instead of investigating Aziz Bari and asking him to show cause under article 15 of IIUM’s Staff Disciplinary Rules (2005) the tables are turned when the controversy of his suspension blows up that now puts public presure and legal onus on IIUM and its Rector to show cause why they have taken this knee jerk suspension course.

  11. #11 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 23 October 2011 - 6:18 am

    Prof Aziz Bari is suspended pursuant to Rule 15(1) of IIUM’s Staff Disciplinary Rules 2005. The Rule provides staff cannot make public statement to press detrimental to policies/decisions of IIUM without prior permission of Rector. However 15(3) also provides an exception. “Nothing in this Rule shall be construed as preventing a teacher from making a statement
    on an academic matter which relates to a subject on which he is engaged in research or study”. Now Aziz Bari’s public statement that got him in trouble clearly falls under the exception since he is a law professor making a statement on relating to the role of constitutional rulers which clearly relates to a subject on which he is engaged in research or study – Malaysian Constitutional Law- and hence comes within the exception of that which is permissible. He is just doing what Karpal Singh did in commenting on Perak constitutional crisis.

  12. #12 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 23 October 2011 - 6:36 am

    As chancellor of UTP, Tun Dr Mahathir gave his two sen worth when he opined that Aziz’s statement on Jais-church issue was disrespectful of Ruler and “contrary to Eastern moral values” (read “feudal values”). Of course BN’s MPs jump into the bandwagon to protest in parliament. They always do to show that they are loyal to feudal values which underpin UMNO’s power base. However that’s just politic rhetoric. They bear no relation to either logic or law or even common sense. Where IIUM/Rector has put themselves (from now on) in untenable position is that they have in knee jerk fashion taken action based on what BN politicians said (for their own political agenda) without factoring in wider implications, ie that (i) there is no infringement of IIUM’s disciplinary rules; that (ii) such action will cause and have now caused other academics and student to protest its action under the banner of academic freedom and maintenance of our tertiary/universities standards whose ranking are fast falling to the abyss; (iii) the disciplinary action is contrary to PM Najib’s electoral pitch to be seen committed to democratization by recent repeal of ISA and EO legislations.

  13. #13 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 23 October 2011 - 6:53 am

    This simply means IIUM/Rector now comes directly under the public glare of civil society, opposition politicians and Aziz Bari’s lawyers to show cause why action should not be taken against it for suspending the Prof when he has not infringed any of IIUM’s Staff Disciplinary rule by reason of Rule 15(3) permitting what he said, and in so doing, acting so fast, heedless of implications, has now placed IIUM’s reputation for Academic freedom on the line & Malaysian universities’ general standing in international ranking further down the ranking tubes and even placed the ultimate boss who pays the gaji in an unenviable position of having to justify and reconcile how all this is reconcilable to his pitch for democratisation. Rest assured when one tries to please politicians by being seen taking action based on what they said (which is more politically than logic/legal based), and one’s action is indefensible, the politicians will not bail one out. They’re not going to say thatr they told you to do thsi or that. They would say you did on your own. When the chips are down and sh*t hits the fan you’re on your own mate.

  14. #14 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 23 October 2011 - 7:12 am

    Let me just say this: Academic Freedom is a core value in Universities of Higher learning. In Malaysia, yes Academic Freedom is pervasively curtailed and abridged by our University and University Colleges Act (UUCA) which prohibits university staff/students from participating in politics ie joining nd campaigning for political parties (though nothing wrong if they express political views). However here Aziz Bari is not held to account for violating UUCA. It is not politically partisan. What he commented is a public issue within his field of academic research and work which is permitted and does not constitute an infraction of the very IIUM’s Staff disciplinary Rules which were invoked against him for the suspension. Like Newton’s Law the action of suspension (if not justifiable by UUCA or IIUM’s Disciplinary rules) will turn table and cause a very negative reaction on the Rector and IIUM’s administrators for instituting in a cavalier fashion action that places IIUM in negative light vis-a-vis tertiary instituions’ core value of Academic freedom. In the premises they should on te contrary show cause why they should be allowed to stay in the position for error of judgment placing IIUM’s interest and repute in jeopardy.

  15. #15 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 23 October 2011 - 7:30 am

    The truth is when you mix racial and religo politics into the extent that Malaysia has, ignorance becomes natural. What is so surprising about what is happening? A test case? Not even close. The stubbornness or persistance of ignorance and hate can be incredible in fact most often. In fact its the rarity that mass enlightenment come about.

    Look at the Himpun rally – its even proven there is no baiss for it but small it may be, 5,000 people still can cause a lot of harm to a lot more innocent people with their ignorance and hate. One cannot imagine evidence of casual misguidedness how the whole thing could be blown to much bigger. Since when is anyone or any group owed such militant servitude? Its entitlement gone mad and ignorance out of control.

    So long as racial and religo politics is NOT turned back, the best that can happen is a sweeping under the carpet of problem. And it will only happen because the ignorant and the haters drag us all down to destroy our apathy that it will change.

  16. #16 by waterfrontcoolie on Sunday, 23 October 2011 - 7:50 am

    When the whole educational system stinks with political agenda; there isn’t much the general public can do. You can’t have good universities when the basic of education is being used for political convenience. In those more competitive countries teachers are recruited from the top quadrant whereas in Malaysia, many failed in the open market before opting into teaching. We have science garduates who can’t tackle lower form maths! That gives the indication of our standard. Of course, the DPM who is the MOE will never venture into the PISA competition. This will actually tell us, what we have achieved in our schools. Even today, one can see the debatinf going on in the US on school education especially in the fields of maths and science; the subjects that will decide our ability to compete in the 21st century! Being a political tool of BN, our edication from schools to Universities will never achieve its objectives. All these debates will continue, come 2020, unless we all can remove the cancer!

  17. #17 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Sunday, 23 October 2011 - 8:05 am


    Well, I can safely say that Muhyiddin has a distintive PHD – Permanent Head Damage.

    As fro the head of UMNO, Najib, ummmm…..
    what else is there left to say?

  18. #18 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Sunday, 23 October 2011 - 8:11 am

    Aziz’s case is so symptomatic of all that is wrong with the value system of the ruling UMNO party and their insistence on dipping their fingers in every institutional pie….such a stupid and horrid mess.

    Jeffrey, thank you for yr pateince in elucidating on each and every problem. I puke every time I read of their antics. And I am not joking, man. SO if I as a loyal Malaysian puke, what do you think the rest of the world would do when they have to put up with all this UMNO defecation……they just give Malaysia a wide berth. Just main jauh-jauh-lah, they would say. Or, in English parlance, they may just say, go play your balls in some other park.

  19. #19 by monsterball on Sunday, 23 October 2011 - 8:17 am

    Malaysians are simply sick of these UMNO b Malays and Muslims criticizing others when there are not worth one sen when comes to principles in life and showing good characters to young Malaysians.
    Mahathir …so old…yet never regret nor have any shame at all….keep playing dirty politics all his life.
    Dictators and thieves…all over Muslim world….dead in Middle East.
    This should open the eyes of Muslims in Malaysia…..and it did….from so many events…organized by the Govt or their agents…. good truthful Muslims shunt away.

  20. #20 by Jong on Sunday, 23 October 2011 - 1:36 pm

    “When the chips are down and sh*t hits the fan you’re on your own mate.”

    Yes, spot on Jeffrey!
    This should be a warning to all those blind ahli-bodeks!

  21. #21 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 23 October 2011 - 8:34 pm

    Minister of Higher Education Khaled Nordin just appeared on TV 3 to say that IIUM’s suspension of Aziz Bari is “an internal matter” for which he is not interfering. Looks like IIUM’s Rector is really on his own on this one!

  22. #22 by Jong on Sunday, 23 October 2011 - 11:45 pm

    gosh, my comment early today still under moderation?

  23. #23 by Jong on Monday, 24 October 2011 - 1:21 pm

    24 hours, still under moderation YB Kit?

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