KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 ― University of Selangor’s (Unisel) Dr Abdul Aziz Bari is the next academic to get snagged in Putrajaya’s sedition dragnet, according to a report today, as the law professor has been summoned for a police interview over his comments on the Selangor crisis.
According to news portal The Malaysian Insider (TMI), the constitutional expert will be investigated under Section 4(1)(a) of the Sedition Act 1948, after almost 100 reports were lodged against him for allegedly insulting the Sultan of Selangor in his published comments.
Section 4(1)(a) criminalises any seditious tendencies, with a fine not exceeding RM5,000 for a first time offence, or imprisonment not exceeding five years for subsequent offences.
A police officer who wished to remain anonymous told TMI that there were reports from all over the country against Abdul Aziz for his remarks in two articles published by the portal.
The articles were “Sultan Selangor terikat Deklarasi 1992, perlu lantik Wan Azizah, kata Aziz Bari” dated September 1, and “Only God, not Sultan, has absolute powers, says legal expert” dated September 9.
The portal reported that Abdul Aziz will be interviewed at the Sabak Bernam police headquarters tomorrow.
Malay Mail Online has not been able to reach Abdul Aziz for further comments at the time of writing.
The law lecturer is the second academic to be probed under the colonial-era Act, after University of Malaya’s (UM) associate professor Dr Azmi Sharom, who is also a law lecturer.
Azmi was charged under Section 4(1)(b) of the Act in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on September 2 for comments he made on the 2009 Perak crisis.
He was the first academic to be charged following a string of cases over recent weeks where opposition politicians were hauled to court for alleged sedition.
Putrajaya has come under heavy public scrutiny for its ongoing sedition crackdown, which has seen at least 20 anti-government dissidents, opposition politicians and a journalist booked in the space of one month.
This is despite Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s promise to do away with the repressive Sedition Act 1948 three times in the span of two years, and replace it with a National Harmony Act with the most recent occasion on September 5.
But with growing pressure from conservatives within his own party, Umno, Najib said recently that the government may not repeal the Sedition Act after all, if replacement laws were inferior.
Defenders of the Sedition Act, primarily pro-establishment conservatives including former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, contend that its removal will open the floodgates of attacks against the Bumiputera, Islam, and the Malay rulers in the absence of another pre-independence law that has since been repealed, the Internal Security Act.