Professor Aziz Bari who teaches Constitutional law at International Islamic University (IIUM) is being suspended by the university.
It is learnt that the suspension was triggered by series of critical comments by Prof Aziz Bari published by local media, specifically on Malaysiakini that says “Not wrong to criticise the Rulers.”
The comment was made following the Selangor Sultan’s decree on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church’s (DUMC) row with the Islamic Affairs Department (JAIS).
Prof Aziz also offered the view that the Sedition Act 1948 doesn’t criminalise an individual for comments made against a sultan.
Following the suspension, hundred of tweets expressing support for Aziz posted on Twitter.
“Thaniah Prof Aziz Bari. Msia mmerlukan orang spt anda yang merdeka fikiran. Bebas dari jiwa feudal Melayu. Sultan bkn nabi, mrk tdk maksu,” tweeted former Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri.
A comment by former Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim read: “Aziz Bari will hopefully join PAS as fulltime politician. PAS needs him for hudud and islamic state issues. Exciting times.”
Aside from suspension by the university, Aziz has also been issued a show-cause letter.
“I have been given until next Tuesday to respond to the show-cause letter,” said Aziz, who has been lecturing on law for the past 22 years.
Aziz is represented by two lawyers in this case – Hanipa Maidin and Zulqarnain Luqman.
According to Zulqarnain, the action against Aziz was taken in accordance with Rule 15(1) of the Staff Disciplinary Rules 2005 in IIUM.
Rule 15(1) states that university staff members cannot make any statement that is detrimental to the university.
“Aziz is now not allowed to enter the premises of the university, and do anything without a written permission from the faculty dean,” said Zulqarnain. “He, however, will receive his full salary.”
Commenting on the rule and charge against Aziz, Zulqarnain maintained it is okay for Aziz to make a comment on academic grounds.
“This is the third time Aziz has been issued a show-cause letter. Previously the university remained silent after Aziz responded to its show-cause letter,” added Zulqarnain.