We stand with Dr Azmi Sharom

Azmi Sharom's arrest has implications for academic freedom

We, the 300 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 is so seditious about that?

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 academic?

Charging Dr Azmi Sharom with ‘uttering and publishing a seditious statement’ for his informed views reveals 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 civilised 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 criminalising 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 It is a repugnant law and must be repealed.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

1 Andrew Aeria Academic Kuching
2 Lee Hwok Aun Academic Kuala Lumpur
3 Faisal Hazis Academic Kuching
4 Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid Academic Penang
5 Ahmad Fuad Rahmat Academic Shah Alam
6 Aishah Knight Academic Penang
7 Amanda Whiting Academic Melbourne, Australia
8 Aznijar Ahmad Yazid Academic & PKAUM Klang
9 Chai Ming Hock Academic Kuching
10 Chiew Thiam Kian Academic Kuala Lumpur
11 Chua Hang Kuen Academic Penang
12 Datin Dr. Sameem Abdul Kareem Academic Kuala Lumpur
13 Dato’ Chatar Singh Physicist & Academic /Retired Penang
14 Dato Dr Toh Kin Woon Research Fellow Penang
15 Dato Dr.Sharom Ahmat Academic/Retired Penang
16 Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa Academic Kuala Lumpur
17 Dr Jeff Tan Academic London
18 Dr Lai Suat Yan Academic & PKAUM Kuala Lumpur
19 Dr Lee King Siong Academic/Retired Kuala Lumpur
20 Dr Mavis Puthucheary Academic/Retired Kuala Lumpur
21 Dr Mohd Faizal Musa Academic Bangi
22 Dr Mustafa K Anuar Academic Penang
23 Dr Nur AfifahVanitha Abdullah Academic Kuching
24 Dr Ooi Kee Beng Academic Penang
25 Dr Subramaniam Pillay Academic Kuala Lumpur
26 Dr Tessa J. Houghton Academic Semenyih
27 Dr Wong Chin Huat Academic Penang
28 Dr. Bridget Welsh Senior Research Associate Kuala Lumpur/Taipei
29 Dr. Cecilia Ng Academic Penang
30 Dr. Corinne Hyde Academic Baton Rouge, USA
31 Dr. Khoo Gaik Cheng Academic Kuala Lumpur
32 Dr. Koo Yew Lie
Academic Kuala Lumpur, UK & Australia
33 Dr. Lee Chai Peng Academic/Retired Petaling Jaya
34 Dr Lee Su Kim Academic/Retired Kuala Lumpur
35 Dr. Leong Yueh Kwong Ecologist Penang
36 Dr. Lim Mah Hui City Councillor Penang
37 Dr. Lim Teck Ghee Policy Researcher Kuala Lumpur
38 Dr. Lucy Bailey Academic Semenyih
39 Dr. Patricia Anne Martinez Academic Petaling Jaya
40 Dr. Rajeswari Kanniah Academic putrajaya
41 Dr. Rusaslina Idrus Academic Kuala Lumpur
42 Dr. Tan Liok Ee Academic/Retired Penang
43 Dr. John Whalen-Bridge Academic Singapore
44 Edmund Terence Gomez Academic Kuala Lumpur
45 FK Phang Academic Kuala Lumpur
46 Francis Loh Academic/Retired & Civil Society Activist Penang
47 Goy Siew Ching Academic Kuching
48 Gregore Pio Lopez Research Fellow Perth, Australia
49 Helen Ting Academic Kajang
50 Ho Sinn-Chye Academic Penang
51 Ivy Loo Academic Penang
52 James Chin Academic Kuala Lumpur
53 Jayaeswari Sangaralingam Academic Penang
54 Jenny Chew Saw Chin Academic Penang
55 Joanne Lim Academic Selangor
56 Jonathan JS Kovilpillai Academic Kuala Lumpur
57 K.Thiruchelvam Academic Petaling Jaya
58 Kam Suan Pheng Academic Penang
59 Kamal Salih Academic/Retired Kuala Lumpur
60 Kamal Solhaimi Fadzil Academic Kuala Lumpur
61 Khoo Ying Hooi Academic Kuala Lumpur
62 Kua Kia Soong Academic Kuala Lumpur
63 Law Tzuo Hann Academic Taiping
64 Lee Hock Guan Senior Research Fellow Singapore
65 Lim Hong Sheng Academic Johor Bahru/Oxford
66 Loh Kong Ken Academic Kuala Lumpur
67 Loh Wei Leng Academic Kuala Lumpur
68 Loo Hong Chuang Academic Kuala Lumpur
69 maimuna hamid merican Academic Kuala Lumpur
70 Mary Varghese Academic Petaling Jaya
71 Molly NN Lee Academic Penang
72 Ng Kah Chuan Academic Kuala Lumpur
73 Ng Mei Peng Academic Petaling Jaya
74 Ngo Sheau Shi Academic Penang
75 Ngu Ik Tien Academic Kuala Lumpur
76 Noraida Endut Academic Penang
77 Paul Lim Academic/Retired Taipei
78 Petra Gimbad Academic Kuala Lumpur
79 Phua Kai Lit Academic Shah Alam
80 Por Heong Hong Academic/Independent Researcher Kuala Lumpur
81 Por Lip Yee Academic & PKAUM Kuala Lumpur
82 Professor Abdul Rahman Embong Academic/Researcher Bangi
83 Professor William G. Tierney Academic Los Angeles, USA
84 Professor Andrew Harding Academic Singapore
85 Professor Khoo Boo Teik Academic Tokyo
86 Professor Maude E Phipps Academic Petaling Jaya
87 Professor Surichai Wungaeo Academic Bangkok
88 Rafidah Md. Noor Academic Kuala Lumpur
89 Raja Ariffin Raja Ghazilla Academic & PKAUM Kuala Lumpur
90 Richard Mason Academic Kuala Lumpur
91 Rokiah Alavi Academic Kuala Lumpur
92 Rom Nain Academic Selangor
93 Rosli H Mahat Academic & PKAUM Kuala Lumpur
94 Rosli Omar Academic/Retired Kuala Lumpur
95 Ruhana bt. Padzil Academic Kuala Lumpur
96 Santhiram Raman Academic Penang
97 Shamsul AB Social Anthropologist Seremban
98 Sharifah Muhairah Shahabudin Academic Petaling Jaya
99 Sharon A. Bong Academic Petaling Jaya
100 Sharon Kaur Academic Petaling Jaya
101 Soon Chuan Yean Academic Penang
102 Sue Khor Academic Penang
103 Sumit Mandal Independent Scholar Petaling Jaya
104 Suresh Narayanan Academic Penang
105 Tamir Moustafa Academic Burnaby, Canada
106 tan beng hui Academic Kuala Lumpur
107 Tan Ka Kheng Academic Kuala Lumpur
108 Tan Sooi Beng Academic Penang
109 Tan Sri Dato’ Emeritus Professor Gajaraj Dhanarajan Academic Penang
110 Thock Ker Pong Academic Kuala Lumpur.
111 Ting Su Hie Academic Kuching
112 Too Shaw Warn Academic Semenyih
113 VGR Chandran Govindaraju Academic Petaling Jaya
114 Wan Chang Da Academic Penang
115 Wan Manan Academic Kota Bharu
116 Wang Lay Kim Academic Penang
117 Wei Keong Too Academic Semenyih
118 Wong Mun Loong Academic Kajang
119 Wong Soak Koon Academic/Retired Kuala Lumpur
120 Yap Tuan Gee Academic & Medical Doctor Kuala Lumpur
121 Yeoh Seng Guan Academic Kuala Lumpur
122 Yuen Kok Leong Academic Kuching
123 Zabdi Zamrod Academic/Retired Penang
124 Zaidi Razak Academic & PKAUM Kuala Lumpur
125 Zawawi Ibrahim Academic Kuala Lumpur
126 Aerleen Justim Concerned Citizen Petaling Jaya
127 Ahmed Bin Chee Engineer Penang
128 Aidan Yang Concerned Citizen/Retired Petaling Jaya
129 Alex Heng Bank Manager/Retired Penang
130 Al-Mustaqeem M Radhi Writer Kuala Lumpur
131 Altaf Deviyati Ismail Researcher Penang
132 Ambiga Sreenevasan Lawyer Kuala Lumpur
133 Anas Alam Faizli
Project Management Professional Kuala Lumpur
134 Ang Hiok Gai Educator Petaling Jaya
135 Angela Tan PR Consultant Kuala Lumpur
136 Angeline Loh Writer Penang
137 Angie Santhanam Teacher Kuala Lumpur
138 Anil Netto Freelance Writer Penang
139 Anna Har Mei Yoke Filmmaker and Producer Kuala Lumpur
140 Anne Lasimbang Social/Community Activist Kota Kinabalu
141 Annette Vijiarungam Web Administrator Kuala Lumpur
142 Annie Lim Administrator Penang
143 Anwar Fazal Social Activist/Concerned Citizen Penang
144 Basil Fernando Attorney At Law Sri Lanka
145 Ben Rethual Concerned Citizen Kuala Lumpur
146 BK Ong Social Activist Kota Kinabalu
147 Boon Kia Meng PhD Candidate Kyoto, Japan
148 C.L.Chan Concerned Citizen/Retired Kuala Lumpur
149 Charles Hector Lawyer, Human Rights Defender and Writer Temerloh
150 Chi Too Artist Kuala Lumpur
151 Chia Che Hieng Engineer Singapore
152 Chin Khuan Sui Teacher Penang
153 Chitra Alagan Manager Penang
154 Chok Pit Yuen Secretary Kuala Lumpur
155 Chong Wui Howe Business Analysis Manager Ipoh
156 Chow Chee Keong Principal Penang
157 Chua Ai Ling Advocate & Solicitor Penang.
158 Chua Sieh Mann Lawyer Petaling Jaya
159 Chua Tee Tee Educator Petaling Jaya
160 Chung Tack Soon Marketing Manager Kuala Lumpur
161 Clare Rewcastle Brown Journalist London
162 Colin Kirton Artist Subang Jaya
163 Colin Nicholas Indigenous Rights’ Activist/ Researcher Petaling Jaya
164 Daniel John Jambun Civil Society Activist Kota Kinabalu
165 Daniel Soon Social Care Giver Penang
166 Datin Fakhitah Mohd. Darus Welfare Officer/Retired Penang
167 Dato VL Kandan Lawyer Kuala Lumpur
168 Dato’ Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim Entrepreneur & Civil Society Activist Kuala Lumpur
169 Dorathy Benjamin Civil Society Activist Subang Jaya
170 Dr SP Choong Medical Doctor Penang
171 Dr Yolanda Augustin Medical Doctor London
172 Dr. Beth Baikan Environmental Consultant Kota Kinabalu
173 Dr. Carol Yong Independent Consultant & Researcher Kuala Lumpur
174 Dr. Regina Lim Legal Researcher Kota Kinabalu
175 Dr. Thomas Mason Consultant Kuching
176 Edda de Silva Publisher/Retired Kuala Lumpur
177 Engku Kamanurrull Zahara Bt Engku Kamarudin, Legal Assistant Kuala Lumpur
178 Esther Gauri Project Manager Kuala Lumpur
179 Esther Yew Sales & Marketing Kuala Lumpur
180 Evelyn Tang Administrator Penang
181 Farida Jivamala binti Md Ibrahim Teacher Petaling Jaya
182 Gebril Atong Indigenous Peoples’ Activist Miri
183 Geh Cheng Lok Advocate & Solicitor Penang
184 Gerard F. Robless Concerned Citizen/Retired Penang
185 Gurdip Singh, Concerned Citizen/Retired Ipoh
186 Haris Ibrahim Activist Kuala Lumpur
187 Harrison Ngau Laing Lawyer Miri
188 Ho Yock Lin Social Activist Kuala Lumpur
189 Honey Tan Human Rights Activist Kuala Lumpur
190 Ibrahim Suffian Researcher Bangi
191 Ineke Roskam Nurse Petaling Jaya
192 Ir. Lam Kar Keong Engineer Kuala Lumpur
193 Ir. Lim Thean Heng Engineer Penang
194 Ir. Tan Keng Tong Engineer Penang
195 J Hoon Lawyer Penang
196 Jacqueline Ann Surin Journalist & Editor Selangor
197 Janarthani, A. Social Activist Penang
198 Janet Pillai Independent Researcher Kuala Lumpur
199 Jayanath Appudurai Concerned Citizen/Retired Kuala Lumpur
200 Jeffrey Wei Concerned Citizen/Retired Kuching
201 Jerald Joseph Human Rights Trainer Kuala Lumpur
202 Joan Shori Economist Penang
203 Joe Sidek Festival Director Penang
204 John Kim Lean Hwa Social Worker/Retired Penang
205 Jonson K.W. Chong Educator Petaling Jaya
206 Josef Benedict Campaigner Petaling Jaya
207 Josephine Ho Secretary Klang
208 Josie Fernandez Civil Society Activist Kuala Lumpur
209 Jude Manickam Technician Bukit Mertajam
210 Julie Wong Community Organiser/Facilitator Kuala Lumpur
211 Julitah Palalun Lawyer Kuala Lumpur
212 Kavitha Rajan Lawyer Singapore
213 Khoo Salma Nasution Editor Penang
214 KJ John Columnist/Civil Activist Petaling Jaya
215 Lau Chee Boon Entrepreneur & Civil Society Activist Seremban
216 Lee Cheng Tue Engineer Petaling Jaya
217 Lee Chin Chuah Teacher/Retired Kuala Lumpur
218 Lee Kiong Hock Concerned Senior Citizen Washington DC
219 Lee Soo Wei Social Activist Kajang
220 Lee Soon Ching Teacher & School Principal /Retired; Writer Ipoh
221 Lena Hendry Social activist Kuala Lumpur
222 Leong Yew Kee Concerned Citizen/Retired Ipoh
223 Lim Kah Cheng Company Director/Lawyer
224 Lim Kai Shen Teaching Assistant Petaling Jaya
225 Lim Poh Yan Concerned Citizen Petaling Jaya
226 Loh Cheng Kooi Civil Society Activist & Executive Director Penang
227 Loo Ah Hooi Investor Ipoh
228 Low Ai Yun Concerned Citizen/Retired Petaling Jaya
229 Low Siak Kheang, Concerned Citizen/Retired Penang
230 Lucia Lai Admin Clerk Penang
231 M Shanmughalingam Managing Director Kuala Lumpur
232 M. Nadarajah Consultant Penang
233 M.Jaya Gobi Consultant Petaling Jaya
234 M.Sujata Lawyer Petaling Jaya
235 Magdalene Tang Geologist Kuala Lumpur
236 Mark Bujang Indigenous Peoples’ Activist Miri
237 Michael Quah Teacher /Retired Penang
238 Mohamed Kamar Managing Director/Retired and Environmentalist Petaling Jaya
239 Nicholas Chan Researcher Penang
240 Nicholas Mujah ak Ason Indigenous Peoples’ Activist Kuching
241 Nimai Bhattacharjee Financial Consultant Ipoh
242 Noor Mahnun Mohamed Artist Kuala Lumpur
243 Noraini Dhiauddin Concerned Citizen/Student Bangi
244 Noreen Ariff Legal Counsel Johor Bahru
245 Noriah bt Abdullah Teacher/Retired Penang
246 P.Ramakrishnan Teacher/Retired & Civil Society Activist Penang
247 Pan Choi Yen General Manager Petaling Jaya
248 Peter John Radio Journalist/Social Activist Kuching
249 PY Wong Social Activist Kuala Lumpur
250 R. Mageswaran Lawyer Petaling Jaya
251 Ragahavan A/L Annamalai Entrepreneur & Civil Society Activist Kuala Lumpur
252 Ramesan Navaratnarajah Consultant Gynaecologist Petaling Jaya
253 Ramon Navaratnam Civil Servant/Retired & Author Bangsar
254 Rayner Sylvester Yeo Civil Society Activist/Writer Kuala Lumpur
255 Robert Cheong Eng Tick Concerned Citizen/Retired Kuala Lumpur
256 Robert Foo Wealth Management Consultant Kuala Lumpur
257 S. Arutchelvan Social Activist Kuala Lumpur
258 Santalia Deane-Johns Student Sydney
259 Sarah Karmila Benedict Lawyer Kuala Lumpur
260 Sarajun Hoda Entrepreneur & Civil Society Activist Port Klang
261 Satish Chand Bhandari Federal Inspector Of Schools, Ministry of Education/Retired Penang
262 Selvaratnam Saba Concerned Citizen/Pensioner Kluang
263 Sharaad Kuttan Journalist Petaling Jaya
264 Sharifuddin Abdul Latiff Freelance Media Specialist Kuala Lumpur
265 Sheila Pakiam Counsellor Penang
266 Siah Sy Jen Lawyer Kuching
267 Sivin Kit Doctoral Researcher Kristiansand
268 SK Tio Concerned Citizen/Retired Penang
269 Sophie Marie Helene Chao Environmentalist Jakarta
270 Susanna George Organisational Consultant Petaling Jaya
271 Suzanne Tan Gaik Leng Decorative Painter Kuala Lumpur
272 Syerleena Abdul Rashid Social Activist Penang
273 T.S. Gill Consultant Engineer Petaling Jaya
274 Tan Gaik Hoon Accountant Petaling Jaya
275 Tan Hwang-Ee Lawyer Penang
276 Tan Keat Chooi Executive Secretary Penang
277 Tan Paik Sim Concerned Citizen Ipoh
278 Tan Pek Leng Researcher Penang
279 Tan Pong Soo Entrepreneur & Civil Society Activist Kuala Lumpur
280 Tan Seng Keat Researcher Bangi
281 Tan Yew Sing Entrepreneur & Civil Society Activist Kuala Lumpur
282 Tengku Idaura Concerned Citizen/Retired Penang
283 Teo Ann Siang Social Activist Kuala Lumpur
284 Terry Ch’ng Hwa Lian, Concerned Citizen/Pensioner Alor Setar
285 Thomas Jalong Indigenous Peoples’ Activist Miri
286 TK Fong Concerned Citizen Kuala Lumpur
287 Tricia Yeoh Public Policy Analyst Kuala Lumpur
288 Vicky Chan Webmaster Petaling Jaya
289 Vijaye Jayanath Engineer Kuala Lumpur
290 Wan Saiful Wan Jan Researcher Kuala Lumpur
291 Wong Hoy Cheong Researcher Petaling Jaya
292 Wong Siew Lyn Freelance Writer Petaling Jaya
293 Yap Swee Seng Social Activist Petaling Jaya.
294 Yee Lai Wan Researcher/Retired Penang
295 Yew Wei Lit PhD Candidate Hong Kong
296 Yin Shao Loong Researcher Kuala Lumpur
297 Yoong Chew Hing Teacher/Retired Kuala Lumpur
298 Yow Chee Keong Software Engineer Sydney
299 Yow Lee Fung Education Activist Kuala Lumpur
300 Zaid Kamaruddin Civil Society Activist Kuala Lumpur
Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
29 Sep 2014 6.52am

Another telling feature of this petition is its glaring Chinese complexion stretching as far as Hong Kong. Another example of Chinese hegemony in the region.

29 Sep 2014 6.41am

Notice there are no “ordinary” Malaysians. Just trendies and well heeled professionals. If there ever was an example of how tolerant a government could be in the face of not just unfair, unsubstantiated criticisms, but also defamatory and racially provocative criticism against sectors of the community and the state, it is the conduct of the Malaysian government over the period from November 2007 to the present. The conduct of the opposition over the past 7 years has (allegedly) been nothing short of an attempt to overthrow a legitimately elected government. The allegations against government during this period and before by the opposition was not even subtle, but instead direct, provocative racial vilification of Malays and Islam under the pretext of the democratic and constitutional right to free speech. In handling the crisis over the period between 2007 and now, government perhaps could be accused of having been too lenient and optimistic of the prospects that these criticisms(vilification) would go away and that common sense would prevail. The greatest offence and one which is unpardonable is that much of the criticimss of government, head of state, the… Read more »

22 Sep 2014 2.53pm

Dr Azmi Sharom is a jewel in a land of thieves and robberies.
He has character and values, unlike the ones who plan to jail him.

gary gary retired
gary gary retired
22 Sep 2014 1.06am

the trutth shall prevail . that an honest ( from his learned mind democratically opined ) comment from a well meaning academician who tries to moderate for the well being o fthe country cannot be faulted much less charged like a criminal.
I m sure HE did not condemn the perceived injustices out of spite but rather he was commenting on current happenings and its misapplications out of his love for the state and country.
For that we Malaysians salute you for striving to be a voice of conscience for this beloved land of Negara Ku yang tercinta.
Free him to do his duty to speakand articulate for a progressive and sustaining Malaysia.

9 Sep 2014 10.00am

I wish to express my full support for Dr Azmi Sharom, whose columns, I believe, have been a reliable source of constitutional and legal information. To charge this man for sedition is ridiculous and nonsensical, to say the least.

Lee Cheng Kuok
5 Sep 2014 8.32pm

Dear PDRM, instead investigate Dr Azmi I suggest you guys conduct throughout investigation on the wise guy who recommended the charging of doc. You see, now both PDRM and government looked like complete moron. Hey, with more uncertainty in the future we need those bright mind to operate at their full capacity, stop kacau them.

5 Sep 2014 12.17pm

It’s so silly I cannot imagine it happens! Such a charge will not stick! I support the Academic

5 Sep 2014 7.33am

This is only proof that as long as you are not one of the schmucks from Umno you will be their target simple as that. Malaysia is, if not already was, fast becoming a country run by dictators. To be precise dictators from Umno !
But don’t despair, their time in Putrajaya is up in fact they are already a minority government. What will come next ?

Charis Quay
Charis Quay
5 Sep 2014 1.21am

I’d like to endorse this to support Azmi Sharom if it’s still possible:
Charis Quay, Academic, Orsay (France).

Azmi Sharom
Azmi Sharom
4 Sep 2014 8.30pm

Andrew Aeria alerted me to this petition. Words are insufficient to express my gratitude. I am truly humbled by this show of support. Thank you all. From the bottom of my heart. Azmi Sharom