IKSIM told to debate civilly, not sic the police on dissenting views

KUCHING, Dec 22: Sarawakians view the Malaysian Islamic Strategic Research Institute’s (IKSIM) action of lodging a police report on law professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi with trepidation.

State PKR chairman Baru Bian said IKSIM as an academic institution, should not have taken Prof Shad Saleem to the police and instead there should be an exchange of view through intellectual discussion.

“As stated by Professor Shad, if IKSIM wanted to dispute his opinion, they were free to write their opinion and send it to The Star (newspaper). Why lodge a police report?

“If they are really a ‘strategic research institute’, they should be able to defend their positions in a professional and civil manner by engaging in an intellectual discourse.

“This assault on our academic freedom and intimidation of academics bodes ill for this country. Contrary to IKSIM’s views that ‘cultural diversity’ is a threat to Islam and to the country, it is the teachings of institutions like IKSIM, Jakim and MAIWP and their CEOs who reject secularism, liberalism and cultural diversity, that threaten the harmony of our country.

“Sarawakians view these developments with trepidation,” said Baru in a statement today.

He said by lodging a police report, IKSIM was bringing themselves to disgrace.

“By lodging a police report and asking the police to investigate the professor, they are only betraying their lack of professional ethics and scholarly courtesy, bringing themselves into disrepute.

“Not only that, their actions in getting the police involved and causing a threat of a criminal action show that the professor was accurate in his analysis of the rise of religious radicalism in this country,” said Baru.

The Ba Kelalan assemblyman joined Lawyers for Liberty and Sisters in Islam in calling for the police to stop their investigations against the law professor over his article “Religious radicalism on the rise” that was carried by The Star recently.

He held the opinion that Professor Shad has written about the supremacy of the Federal Constitution many times in the past and to accuse the professor, The Star and Sin Chew Daily of conspiracy was “misplaced”.

Baru observed that Professor Shad is a contributor to The Star, besides being a well-respected Professor of Constitutional Law who knows the Constitution better than most other lawyers and academicians.

“What he wrote about was nothing new. Article 3 of the Federal Constitution does not import the meaning that Islam is the official religion of Malaysia and there is strong legal and academic opinion that Malaysia is in fact a secular country.

“This is recognised by the Supreme Court in Che Omar bin Che Soh v Public Prosecutor [1988] 2 MLJ 55, and the researchers at IKSIM should be very aware of this case.”

On the police, Baru believed that the men in uniform should exercise greater discernment and made better judgment.

“The police should have exercised their discretion and declined to investigate. Not every report is worth their time and resources and this is one of them,” said Baru.