Deputy Minister of Higher Education Saifuddin Abdullah today advised the Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA) rector to retract the controversial suspension of law professor Abdul Aziz Bari.
Malaysiakini sighted his text message to Zaleha Kamaruddin in which he described the suspension as "detrimental".
"Whatever (the reasons for the action), it is still morally and intellectually wrong (as) Aziz has not been found guilty.
"I hope you withdraw the suspension and not take action against the students who demonstrated against the suspension yesterday," he said.
When contacted, the deputy minister (right) confirmed the veracity of the SMS.
"Yes, the (SMS) is mine. I sent it to her this morning," he said.
On Thursday UIA not onlysuspended Aziz from his lecturing duties but also revoked his access to UIA for comments made over the Selangor sultan's recent decree on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church controversy.
He had described the decree as "unusual" and "inconsistent", stating that any such royal intervention must abide by the principles of Islam.
When contacted today, Aziz said that Zaleha's public statements in the past few days have been “conflicting and contradictory” to the university’s show cause letter.
“I was shocked when reading what she had said this morning. She was reported by the media to say that my suspension is for seven days (from Oct 19 to 25).
“But the letter states that I have to respond to the show cause letter on Oct 25, and that the suspension is indefinite,” he told Malaysiakini.
The media had quoted Zaleha (right) saying making the statement at a press conference yesterday, justifying the university's decision to suspend the academic pending investigation.
Aziz also refuted the rector's claim that he was never restricted from entering the UIA campus.
“The letter specifically states that I will need permission from the dean to enter the faculty,” he said, adding that UIA had also copied the letter to the university’s security department.
The law professor added that by varying the terms and conditions of the action taken against him, the university is also jeopardising their legal position.
“They cannot just change the terms without informing me,” he said, adding that his lawyer will issue a statement on the matter.
He also lamented that Zaleha’s comments are also “defamatory” to him, as it implies that he has been making untruthful statements in the media about the university.
Asked on the student protest(left) and the slew of support received from colleagues from the academic and legal fraternity, as well as from politicians, Abdul Aziz said the response has been “touching”.
“I feel encouraged. I believe this is a watershed moment, where an academic's suspension has erupted in protests,” he said.
source:malaysiakiniTimbalan Menteri: Tarik balik penggantungan Aziz Bari