Thursday, 4 September 2014
WE STAND WITH DR AZMI SHAROM
PROHAM endorses this statement and stands along side Azmi
We, the undersigned academics and concerned individuals stand united and in solidarity with
Dr Azmi Sharom whose only alleged ‘crime’ is to think and to publicly share his considered
opinion on matters related to his professional expertise as a law professor.
Reportedly, all Dr Azmi did was to caution the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat to not resort to the
Court of Appeal’s ‘landmark’ ruling of effecting a transition of government and Menteri Besar in
the Perak case but to revert to the universally accepted convention of testing its support and its
candidate for Menteri Besar in a vote of confidence in the state assembly. What’s so seditious
Charging Dr Azmi Sharom with ‘uttering and publishing a seditious statement’ only shows up
the hypocrisy of this government. After all, does not this same government also employ Dr Azmi
to teach students about our legal system, to undertake research, to study judicial
pronouncements and to opine what constitutes justice within a democracy? Does it not defeat
the very purpose of his work and indeed the work of thousands of other academics within a
nationwide university system if he is to be summarily hauled up for merely doing his duty as an
Charging Dr Azmi Sharom with ‘uttering and publishing a seditious statement’ for his informed
views reveal the lack of respect this government has towards the universal principles of
academic freedom and freedom of expression. By its actions, this government reveals it is led
by politicians who are unable to appreciate civilized democratic values nurtured by enlightened
universal education. Prime Minister Najib Razak’s on-going mantra of commitment towards
academic excellence, democracy, government and economic transformation rings hollow.
We are of the view that, as long as one does not espouse violence or promote hate, there is no
law in our modern world that can justify the criminalizing of thought and public speech. Indeed,
the colonial-era Sedition Act 1948 under which Dr Azmi is being charged only indicates a painful
irony, namely after 57 years of Merdeka we remain shackled and oppressed by the very
government that claims to have freed us from British colonial rule.
There is no place in a modern, progressive and democratic Malaysia for an archaic, backward
and oppressive law that is the Sedition Act 1948. It is a repugnant law and must be repealed. It
runs afoul of the fundamental liberties as enshrined in the federal constitution. It runs afoul of
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And it runs afoul of our nature as enlightened
human beings with thinking minds.
Free Dr Azmi Sharom from this perversion of justice! Free Malaysia!
4 Sept 2014