‘A storm in a tea cup’ – that is how I would describe the on-going fiasco over the statement made by Prof Aziz Bari vis-a-vis the decree of the Sultan of Selangor over the controversial Church raid at Damansara Utama recently. In typical Malaysian political drama style, a group of right-wing fundamentalists immediately launched their attack on Prof Aziz Bari by alleging he was being insolent and acting treacherously against the Malay royal institution. Haven’t we all seen this drama before during the Perak Constitutional crisis?
This group of right-wing fundamentalists is hell-bent on stirring up emotions among the Malay community and threatens anyone who questions any act or decree of the Malay Rulers, regardless whether the Malay Rulers had acted ultra vires the State Constitutions. To these local ‘rednecks’ (or shall I say ‘brown-necks’), the Malay Rulers can do no wrong as long as it is done under the guise of the State Constitutions and/or Islam. In fact, there are those among these ‘brown-necks’ who are willingly and readily to hand over the total governance of Malaysia back to the Malay Rulers.
As such, it did not come as much of a surprise when I read in the media that the Police and the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had already initiated their investigations over Prof Aziz Bari’s statement. It also did not come as a surprise when I read that Prof Aziz Bari has now been suspended by the International Islamic University. The witch-hunt against Prof Aziz Bari and those who share similar views will not stop. If at all this is just the beginning. My fear is that if the current trend is not curbed, we may eventually see the demise of the Federal Constitution, whereby Malaysia will then become a feudalistic State.
Lest we forget, no one is perfect and as humans we are prone to make errors in our judgments and/or decisions. And sometimes, even when we are right, they will be those who will oppose or criticise our actions or views. As such, no one should ever be so arrogant so as to dismiss any opposing views, for no one can claim to be so knowledgeable.
Coming back to the core issue, was Prof Aziz Bari being seditious when he commented over the Sultan’s decree? For the ignoramus under the Sedition Act 1948, any act, speech, words, publication or other things which has the tendency to show that any Ruler has been misled or mistaken in any of his measures IS NOT SEDITIOUS. In other words, if a Ruler has made an error of judgment or in law in the performance of his constitutional function, members of the public have the right to highlight such matter.
So if there is anyone who disagrees with Prof. Aziz Bari’s opinion or statement over the act (or decree) of the Sultan of Selangor, feel free to debate with him intellectually. BUT do not resort to underhanded tactics by manipulating the system and spreading propaganda to instil fear among the members of the public and academia.
‘Fear’ and ‘propaganda’ are tools of oppressors.