Azmi Sharom is back


March 3, 2016

Azmi Sharom is back

http://www.thestar.com.my

It’s been a long time since I wrote this column. There was nothing glamorous or sinister about this silence.

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Azmi Sharom the Teacher:

He’s most commonly described as a “fun, cool lecturer” – probably one of the most popular lecturers at the Law faculty thanks to his easygoing, approachable nature. But at the core of that, his students appreciate him for his dedication to academics, always encouraging critical and intellectual debates, as well as his dedication to them.– source: http://cilisos.my/who-is-azmi-sharom-and-why-was-he-arrested-for-sedition/

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I had decided to take a break in late January and it felt so good to not have a deadline that the break just went on through all of February.

Anyway, as usual with Malaysia, so much has been happening in the last month. And typically of Malaysia as well, none of the things that have been happening were actually earth shaking. It’s not as if we have been invaded by a neighbouring country or anything like that.

Still, it’s all generally awful stuff. I mean we have the Police–not known to be smart, certainly not intellectual– now dictating what can or cannot be studied.

So a group of people want to study about Marxism, one of the most important and influential philosophies in the world; no chance, say the cops. Since when did they become the arbiters of intellectual activity?

The press have been getting a battering. Online news portals getting banned; threats to whip journalists for offences against the draconian Official Secrets Act; it is all so mad that it feels like a really bad acid trip.

Not that I would know; never having had a bad acid trip. But I am guessing that if some aging disciple of Timothy Leary were to experience life in Malaysia, he or she might feel like they are having an unwelcome flashback.

And now it seems that leaders can’t be satirised.What those who stalk the corridors of power don’t seem to understand is that satire is a tool of the weak.

If you have the power, expect the powerless to make fun of you if they don’t like you. If you can’t take it, then don’t stand for office. Toughen up, for goodness sake.

So much to write about and it is so difficult because I am completely rusty. Therefore I am going to treat this article like a warm-up game. Just write about something a bit more personal until I am fit enough to trudge into the mire that is Malaysian politics and law.

Here we go then; five things I’ve learnt since being charged for sedition.

Number one. The benches in the dock for accused persons are really very uncomfortable. Sitting on hard wood for ages really plays havoc on the gluteus maximus.

I don’t know why it has to be so. Come on, a few cushions will do wonders and you can get them cheap at any pasar malam. After all, those who are in the dock are not yet guilty, they are merely accused, so why the buttock torment?

Number two. The Sedition Act must go. And it must go now. But I already knew this, as do millions of Malaysians.

Number three. The acoustics in court are awful. It’s a real strain to hear what the people up front are saying. And considering the people up front holds one’s fate in their hands, it is very important to hear what is happening.

It also can lead to some awkward moments. There was a time when I was in the dock with another chap who had the same first name as me. Because the acoustics were so bad we were never sure which one of us was being called.

So there were moments of ludicrousness where we both stood, thinking we were summoned, only for the court staff to gesture furiously for one of us to sit.

Naturally we couldn’t really tell whom they were gesturing to so there was a time where we both popped up and down like a couple of demented meerkats.

Number four. There are many good people out there. Family, colleagues, students, friends and strangers.When I was acquitted, I was quoted as saying I was thankful. It is to them that I am thankful.

Number five. Always be nice to your friends in school.This includes the strange highly intellectual one who scared everybody with his fearsome intellect as he raised a withering eyebrow and glowered at you from over the top of whatever unbelievably thick book he was reading.

It also includes the little good-natured kid whom the older boys took great pleasure in ordering around like a plump minion; pinching his round cheeks as his reward.

Be nice to them all, because you never know. One day they may grow up into hot-shot lawyers who will save your poor tortured buttocks from a fate far worse than hard benches.

Azmi Sharom (azmi.sharom@gmail.com) is a law teacher. The views expressed here are entirely the writer’s own.

6 thoughts on “Azmi Sharom is back

  1. Tuan Syed “Outsyed the Box” says:

    “However the Malays and the whole country may wake up if the gomen does not have money to pay its Civil Servants salaries. This is a possibility. There are 1.6 million civil servants, 99% of whom are Malay and if they miss one pay check, then there will be chaos.

    Yesterday a news report said some cleaners in a school in Kepong, KL have not been paid salaries since January this year. It was not because of any labour dispute etc. They were just not paid. The school had to appeal to the Jabatan Pendidikan. Dont know if the case has been resolved.

    The VC or Head of University Kuala Lumpur recently met with Annuar Musa the Chairman of MARA about releasing some funds for student loans at Uni KL. Over 200 new students dropped out of Uni KL last week because of no financial aid from MARA. The issue is still not resolved.

    Annuar Musa told Uni KL to tell their future applicants that MARA student loans will not be available anymore. There is no more money.

    Peope claiming GST rebates (if their GST collection is LESS than their GST payments to the gomen) are being told that NO rebates will be paid. It will be offset against their FUTURE GST payments. There is no more money.

    Companies (like Shell Malaysia) claiming tax rebates have been told the same thing. No tax rebates / tax refund claims will be paid out. It will be offset against your FUTURE tax payments. There is no more money.

    If the gomen misses paying one month’s salary to the 1.6 million Civil Servants then UMNO, PAS and the Malays will wake up.

    But even then, no one is going to demonstrate in the streets This is not Thailand. Mat Sabu was correct.

    My reading is first the gomen then the country will just grind to a halt. People will drive their cars until the petrol tank becomes empty. Then they will get down and just start walking. ‘Ini takdir’ they will say. They will not demonstrate or riot.

    Cash will really be king then. Other people with cash will buy them out. Watch out.

    Houses will be put up for fire sale.
    They will sell their land.
    Cars will be put up for fire sale.
    Women will sell their jewelleries.”

  2. Since Azmi is searching for something to write about, one suggestion is how about telling us the grounds of defence given by his lawyers to secure his acquital and whether the court gave any grounds for acquital, written or verbal?

  3. “He’ll take you up, he’ll bring you down,
    He’ll plant your feet back firmly on the ground.
    He flies so high, he swoops so low,
    He knows exactly which way he’s gonna go.”

    Legend of a Mind – Moody Blues.

  4. Quote:- “Cash will really be king then. Other people with cash will buy them out. Watch out”

    Herein lies another “reason” UMNO will give to disparage again the non-Malay, (read Chinese), Malaysians. The Malaysian Chinese community generally has high personal savings and investments. With cash to spare many will buy up whatever is on sale at a bargain. And why not? So the Malaysian Chinese will be accused, (by say Utusan Malaysia), of “enslaving” the Malays yet again, and some future rising UMNO star will be warning that his kriss will be bathe in Chinese blood.

    The reason why Malaysia and the Malays are in any such dire straits will of course be mentioned at the pain of attracting the Sedition Act.

  5. Since the whole 1MDB mess begin, Najib kept saying ” wait for report” to everyone, personally to Muhiyiddin. Now the Auditor-General report is classified as OSA. Seriously, Larry, Moe, Curly could not make these stuff up. And they want to charge Fahmi Reza for Sedition when Fahmi Reza should demand payment for IP right for behaving exactly like his caricature.

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