June 18. 2014
Public Intellectual-Scholar Kassim Ahmad Urges Najib: Show Political Courage and put things right
Malaysia appears to be at the “brink of anarchy”, controversial scholar Kassim Ahmad said today in reference to recent actions by Islamic authorities.
Explaining why he had instructed his lawyers to ask for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s intervention in the case brought against him by the Federal Territories Islamic Department (JAWI), he said he was concerned that Islam was being unjustly dishonoured.
His lawyers’ letter, sent out last Friday, was also addressed to Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir and de facto Religious Affairs Minister Jamil Khir Baharom. In a message to FMT, Kassim, often referred to as Pak Kassim, wrote:
“There were many wrong things that were done by JAWI to me. They came in 13 cars and raided and searched my house, seized my personal belongings, dragged and bundled me into a van and drove me from Kedah to Penang Airport and then flew me out of the state of Kedah to KL against my will.
“Then JAWI kept me up awake the whole night interrogating me and the next day charged me in the Putrajaya Court in such a spectacular manner.
“Was all that necessary? I am a harmless 80-year-old man. The accusation against me is that I gave an opinion different from the mainstream opinion. Is difference of opinion a crime? That’s why I am asking Brig-Gen Dato Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, the minister overseeing JAWI, to address and correct these wrongs.
“I addressed my letter to the PM because lately Malaysia seems to be on the brink of anarchy. The PM took an oath to uphold the Federal Constitution. Thus, the PM must clarify these issues so that JAWI and their like do not act in a manner that dishonours Islam as a great religion and, more importantly, that JAWI, which is under the PM’s Department, does not breach the fundamental liberties guaranteed by the Constitution.
“It is the PM’s constitutional duty to ensure that every agency act within the bounds of the law. They cannot be a law unto their own.
“I also addressed the Menteri Besar of Kedah because I am a citizen of Kedah. The MB has a duty to protect me under the concept of federalism so that agencies of other states like JAWI cannot do as they please in the state of Kedah. Kedah has its own laws and fatwas.
“JAWI has charged me for an offence that has no equal in the Kedah Syariah Enactments. Yet, JAWI dragged me from Kedah and forced me to come under JAWI’s jurisdiction. That is disrespecting the concept of federalism and violating my fundamental rights.
“The Kedah MB must answer to my plea for protection, especially since DYMM Sultan Kedah is now the Yang Di Pertuan Agong. I hope these ministers will discharge their constitutional duties and have the moral and political courage to put things right.”