Lawyers For Liberty strongly condemns the suspension of Prof Aziz Bari’s duty as professor of constitutional law at the International Islamic University of Malaysia regarding his comments on the scope and limitations of constitutional powers of the King.
This is clearly a denial of his basic right to freedom of speech guaranteed under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution and the principles of academic freedom enshrined in free speech.
The right to intellectual discourse, debate and articulation is an indivisible part of academic development and excellence. This suspension will certainly curtail world-class academic research and thought-provoking discussions, which Malaysian universities badly need to regain past glory.
Intellectualism, research excellence and academic freedom are pre-requisites for innovation and creativity to thrive, crucial for Malaysia to successfully transform itself into a developed nation that fully subscribes to democratic principles and human rights.
This suspension is a mockery of the Najib administration’s so-called ‘Greater Reforms’ to make Malaysia a more democratic and liberalised nation. This action proves that Najib’s reforms are insincere, superficial and dishonest but intended to solely fish for votes with the upcoming general election.
We demand that this unjustified suspension be lifted immediately while calling upon MCMC not to step beyond its boundaries. We also urge the police to immediately cease harassing Prof Aziz Bari with investigations under the draconian Sedition Act.
Issued by Afiq M Noor
Lawyers For Liberty
20 October 2011