UIA justifies Aziz Bari’s suspension

By Melissa Chi, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — The International Islamic University Malaysia (UIA) has said Prof Dr Abdul Aziz Bari’s suspension is not a “punishment” as his salary has not been docked and he can still enter the campus.

UIAM Rector Prof Datuk Dr Zaleha Kamaruddin told reporters yesterday the week-long suspension was to enable a detailed investigation to be carried out over allegations that the law professor criticised the Selangor Sultan.

“The university will pay his salary as usual and he is free to enter the university and associate with the faculty,” she said.

Hundreds of UIA students gathered at the Gombak campus yesterday to demand the lecturer’s reinstatement.

Abdul Aziz’s (picture) colleagues and lecturers from other universities also backed him as he repeated yesterday that he did not attack the Selangor Sultan.

He had said he was fulfilling his role as an academic when he said earlier this month that the Sultan had intervened in an “unusual and inconsistent” manner on a church raid by religious authorities.

The suspension, beginning last Wednesday, followed Abdul Aziz’s recent statement questioning the Sultan’s decision with regard to the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) raid on the Methodist Damansara Utama Church (DUMC) last August 3.

Abdul Aziz is, however, obliged to respond to the show-cause letter issued to him by the university last Wednesday.

Zaleha said if he fails to reply within the given period, he would be summoned before the disciplinary board.