Aziz Bari a victim of ignorance, say colleagues

By Shannon Teoh | October 21, 2011
The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — The academic staff of the International Islamic University of Malaysia (UIA) have joined the protest against the university’s suspension of Prof Dr Abdul Aziz Bari, stating that the law professor is a victim of ignorant “allegations and pressure.”

Just hours after 700 UIA students gathered at the Gombak campus this morning to demand Abdul Aziz’s reinstatement, the university’s academic staff have also come out to condemn the indefinite suspension that followed after the don had allegedly criticised the Selangor Sultan.

“Abdul Aziz Bari (picture) should be thanked for getting a nation to think. He should not be punished for the reaction of third parties.

“The allegations and pressure that are not based on knowledge levelled against Abdul Aziz Bari are a waste of time and lowers the status of the country in the eyes of the world,” the UIA Malaysia Academic Staff Association (PKA UIAM) said in a statement today.

Aziz’s suspension has raised the mercury ahead of tomorrow’s planned gathering of a million Muslims to rally against “the challenge of Christianisation” on the back of alleged proselytising by Christians.

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 Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) on August 3 but said it was insufficient for further legal action.

Abdul Aziz’s statement that the intervention was “unusual and inconsistent” and not done in line with Islamic teachings caused a furore in Parliament among Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs who urged that action be taken against the UIA law lecturer.

Although a police report has been lodged against him, the outspoken academic has decided against apologising for his remarks, insisting he had not meant to challenge the Sultan.

“We feel aggrieved at the external interference in the education system that should be free and professional,” PKA UIAM added.

A large crowd at the Himpunan Sejuta Umat (Himpun), or Gathering of a Million Faithful, tomorrow could push Umno and PAS to seek relevance among more religious Malays and raise already simmering fears of Islamisation among non-Muslims and more liberal Malays.

Christian leaders have labelled Himpun’s fight against proselytisation “irrelevant” and cautioned the group against provoking religious tension by going ahead with the rally.

Although Umno has defended Himpun’s freedom to assemble, its partners in the ruling BN, MCA and Gerakan, have urged for the rally to be called off as they fear it will harm race and religious relations.

PAS has said the gathering should remain apolitical while PKR insists there is no threat from Christians.

  1. #1 by dagen on Friday, 21 October 2011 - 6:06 pm

    Oh boy doesnt he know. Anti-agung, anti-sultans, anti-islam jenis umno, anti-melayu, unpatriotic, ungrateful, terrorism, communism etc etc are things that will set umno off into a frenzy of public orgy.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Friday, 21 October 2011 - 6:17 pm

    This is 2011, not 1960. The government should allow greater democratic space for people to air their opinions.

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Friday, 21 October 2011 - 8:26 pm

    Not just ignorance, cowardice too. They have given up on having a mind of their own. I think it hurts their head to think and they will get a heart attack if they have to be brave.

  4. #4 by monsterball on Friday, 21 October 2011 - 9:40 pm

    There is no freedom of speech and rights as long UMNO b is governing…yet their leaders keep supporting and talking about human rights all over the world.
    UMNO b is the biggest political party hypocrites in the world.

  5. #5 by tak tahan on Friday, 21 October 2011 - 11:17 pm

    Then what the heck to be the best democracy in the world recently espoused by Najis!To me we are getting more likely to be the best authoritarian regime in the world.Kaput lah we all if BN still govern from now on and forever.More talents will fly out and left the simpletons and the very sought after illegals and the very great skilled foreigners from our neighbouring countries.2020 sure boleh achieved lah.Malaysia boleh.

  6. #6 by waterfrontcoolie on Friday, 21 October 2011 - 11:36 pm

    The Egyptian guide proudly explained the achievements of Egypt in the Museum of over 5,000 years and then lamented that all that history was no longer relevant as the nation had fallen down the progress of development. Now they are just distant followers of changes championed by others! How is Malaysia doing? he asked. We looked at him; well we weren’t far off! So let him figure out what we meant. But you and I know for sure, we would be lucky to maintain our current standard, come 2020! With the whole world changing to strive to progress faster than others, we spend time and money to stop our university from progressing by stiffling even their professors! China was reported to become the 2nd richest in the world; even the little dot is expected to double its millionaires by 100% abd we spent time killing the intellectuals from thinking and expanding their knowledge. Soon our Unis will be out of even the top 500 or 1,000 list! Sp all thinking Malayisans should ask themselves, is this the kind of Gomen who would lead us into the 21st Century? The answer is clear so should be your decision!

  7. #7 by boh-liao on Saturday, 22 October 2011 - 12:57 am

    C’mon, let’s hv GE13 2 get rid of UmnoB/BN! ABU, ABU, ABU!

  8. #8 by SENGLANG on Saturday, 22 October 2011 - 8:53 am

    Those who has the executives power in any institutions seem to have the same symptom of mentally that they will ty to say and act along the line the authority wishes. Look at the Tung Shih hospital incident where the Tung Shih fellow will side along with the Health Minister for reason only know to them without any thinking.

    UIA incident was the same, the principal just sack without proper investigation and she act in such a way seem to please some one on top. It seem that those people are just want to please those on top.

    In both incidents people just come out to say their protests simply to the common people it was not fair and just to sack this professor who has speck his mind. No wonder we could not produce graduates who can think and reasons. It has happening and with this kind of oppression more will leave the academic and leaving all those who will just say what other want to hears.

    Sad day in Malaysia academic.

  9. #9 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 22 October 2011 - 9:33 am

    Digressing from topic (with my apologies) – the Almighty US is supposed to uphold international United Nation’s principles like national sovereignty and non interference of small and independent member countries and their right to self defence. What we have seen in recent years is that the US led coalition basically bullied & overthrew with overwhelming strength Afghanistan Iraq under excuse of War on Terror and Weapons of Mass Destruction (“WMD”) that never existed; recently, Libya and maybe next Syria. Though Saddam & Gadhafi were dictators, it wasn’t a case of the problem being resolved by people of Iraq or Libya. It was by CIA and American led military interventionism. War on Terror and WMD were excuses for control of the region’s economic resources – oil or its pipelines- besides for pushing out their weapons inventory, and contracts for post war reconstruction benefiting cronies like Harliburton. In part it’s because it is perceived that the GREAT AMERICAN EMPIRE IS ON THE DECLINE COMPARED TO THE RISE OF CHINA as evinced by its tottering financial system. (The U.S. debt is over $14.5 trillion, not to mention recent sub prime crisis, collapse of great American corporates like brokerage houses like Lehman, banks like Bear Sterns, fund managers like Washington Mutual, even CitiCorp needed bail out). When an empire is on decline its dangerous like a wounded tiger is, so declared much respected British Labour Party politician and a former MP and Cabinet MinisterTony Benn, and he is right.

  10. #10 by Cinapek on Saturday, 22 October 2011 - 9:48 am

    “…..the law professor is a victim of ignorant “allegations and pressure.”

    I beg to differ. I am sure those who ordered this suspension knows full well of their ludicrous action and decision.

    It is nothing more than toadying to those who runs this country. In fact, I think Prof. Aziz Bari had been very polite and diplomatic in his choice of words in describing the events that had unfolded compared to TDM’s speeches in Parliament and when he went on rallies around the country to whip up support in his campaign to reduce the powers of the royalty.

    Is this an example of Najib’s “best democracy in the world ” at work? That no one is even allowed to voice their opinion that differs from the official version? Even one that is backed up by sound legal interpretation of the Constitution? If you disagree, by all means state your counter argument with equally good interpretation of the Constitution. Arbitrary actions of suspension and charging in court to stifle opinions smacks of tyranny and dictatorship.

    It would do well for those in the corridors of power to take cognizance of the Arab Spring uprisings and overthrow of the presidents of Egypt,Tunisia and Libya which culminated in the the violent death of dictators such as Gaddhafi. The common denominator in all these countries are the authoritarian govt. that had been in power for too long. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. While Malaysians are unlikely to resort to violence to change the Govt., they will surely do so at the polls.

  11. #11 by SENGLANG on Saturday, 22 October 2011 - 9:54 am

    It was not ignorant it was pure act just to please with the masters. hoping she will be the head that for ever.

    oppression is no the way it may work for sometime just like in ancient China history, but today all can see what happen in Libya? am sure all have seem the bloody scene across the tv screen

  12. #12 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 22 October 2011 - 9:56 am

    BN led by UMNO is of course no American Empire on the decline relative to China. Still for 50 years it is a regime in power for over 50 years controlling the country’s institutions and wealth. Many depend on it to ‘cari makan’. Post 308 it is perceived to be on decline relative to PR. Its keepers & hanger-ons become jittery which makes them, prickly, sensitive, dangerous and reckless in words & action in fear of imminent loss. They would descend to gutter politics and come out with things like alleged Sodomy II (homosexuality) and then on reverse consorting with female prostitute (heterosexuality) of the Opponent’s defacto leader; or fictional molestation by an opposition leader’s son of a chess champion; or trying to “out-pas” PAS in flashing religious card of trying to galvanise their traditional supporters by ‘ Himpunan Sejuta Umat’ to demonstrate against proselytisation that even its own BN component parties have reservation of its wisdom in creating a situation that appears pitching one religious community against the other. This is hysteria and is dangerous – back to original point that the keepers and hanger-ons of a declining regime will incline towards dangerous and reckless actions to assuage their insecurities of losing all….

  13. #13 by boh-liao on Saturday, 22 October 2011 - 10:02 am

    Dis is blatant bully n victimisation; if NR n UmnoB so loyal 2 n tripod sultans, they shld haul up MMK, who whacked d sultans many yrs ago (with d support of UmnoB/BN too)

  14. #14 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 22 October 2011 - 10:18 am

    Prof Dr Abdul Aziz Bari is merely speaking out against this dangerous hysteria. In keeping with the higher principles of academia, he is merely here speaking truth TO power than FOR power. He speaks on matters he knows better – constitutionality, role of constitutional monarch above partisan politics. This is what he would say even in the lecture rooms. But they have to fault him by lodging police reports, proceeding on the often correct assumption that the law enforcement agencies that have become part of the political right and appendage of their paymasters, will do their normal work to take action and harass. This is an emerging new challenge or UMNo on how to deal and manage the “ intelektual or kaum intelekkaum intelektua from ranks of Malay community. Whilst they respect such intellectuals from their own community they want them to speak in support for and not against the regime. In the past – the time when printed media controlled by Presses and Publications Act many of the intellectuals were journalists like Abdul Samad Ismail. When he spoke against, he was arrested in 1976 under ISA until released & “rehabilitated” and rewarded by being allowed to rejoin the NST Group.

  15. #15 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 22 October 2011 - 10:42 am

    However, now they are grappling with alternative media & blogs (not so easily controlled) but the same method is used – harass by stick then offer carrot for reward to speak for the Regime or prevailing norms upheld by the Regime. It’s easier if they were employed by Universities controlled by Govt; they can’t do so easily with (say) AB Sulaiman, not so employed. Even then there’s no need to mention names but we know who have been converted even amongst bloggers (not employed in academia). Amongst those employed they try silencing by “pep talk” by University’s vice chancellor. (We don’t hear much from law lecturer Dr. Azmi Sharom, for quite a while). What that has not been contemplated is taking action against one who refuses to bow and take carrot like what Aziz Bari appears doing. The powers-that-be may yet miscalculate this episode as they did Bersih. If Aziz Bari’s stand proves a flashpoint to gavanise protests from the university students – if it spreads from International Islamic University beyond to other campuses – when it then metamorphoses to becomes an issue of Power versus kaum intelekkaum intelektual yang berjiwa rakyat (intellectuals who have the spirit of the people), then they will have a lot on their hands to manage a possible re-activation of “Reformasi”. Remember how students protests accelerated regime change in Suharto’s time, and in other places in Bangkok and Manila.

  16. #16 by monsterball on Saturday, 22 October 2011 - 1:09 pm

    Forget about the Sultan of Selangor.
    He is turning out to be more and more like his father..a welknown racists and die hard UMNO b supporter.
    I had high hopes of this Sultan to be more reasonable and fair….but it seems he is political minded than be fair and just.
    The King of Thailand is a great example where all his subjects….forget politics and respect him like a God.
    Malaysia is a country….with minds being poisoned for decades….until today…non stop….and unless we change the government.

  17. #17 by monsterball on Saturday, 22 October 2011 - 1:13 pm

    The sooner ..some Sultans accept a Malaysian Malaysia and stop being racists…for their own good…the more Malaysians will sincerely trust and respect them.
    It is People Power with the final say….not UMNO b or sultans.

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