Police should drop investigation into law don, legal rights group says


Source: The Malaysian Insight

The Malaysian Insight pic by Kamal Ariffin, December 19, 2017.

Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi is under investigation for his article, ‘Religious Radicalism on the Rise’. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Kamal Ariffin, December 19, 2017.

POLICE should have used its discretion and dismissed a report against constitutional law expert Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi over an article he wrote about diversity in Islam, a legal rights advocacy group said.

Lawyers for Liberty said the criminal investigation into the emeritus professor at Universiti Malaya was “shocking and unacceptable” as he had merely written an opinion piece.

“The police should have summarily dismissed the report as frivolous and not criminal in nature instead of troubling the professor and other witnesses and having their statements taken.

“The wide investigative powers that are vested in the police come with a necessary degree of discretion and good faith, as not all police reports against government critics or dissidents must be investigated,” LFL’s executive director Eric Paulsen said in a statement today.

Shad is now under investigation under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace over his article “Religious Radicalism on the Rise” published in The Star on November 23.

The police report was lodged by the Malaysian Islamic Strategic Research Institute’s (IKSIM), which Shad had criticised in his article for its stance against cultural diversity, secularism and liberalism.

“It is mindboggling how IKSIM thought fit to drag the police into this matter when the usual approach of disagreeing academics is to write an article responding to the other article,” Paulsen said.

“Any academic disagreement, even on controversial issues should be debated and discussed in a civilised manner without the involvement of law enforcement agencies.

Paulsen added that the investigation was an attack on academia and the freedom of speech, and urged police to drop the investigation.

“It can only perpetuate a climate of fear among outspoken Malaysians and further restrict democratic spaces.”