Najib avoids UIA visit and protesting students, sending Hishammuddin in his stead.
PETALING JAYA: Student activists are shocked over Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s decision to call off his International Islamic University (UIA) visit tonight in favour of attending a Saudi prince’s funeral.
According to Malaysian University Student Solidarity Movement (SMM) chairman Ahmad Syukri Abdul Razab, Najib’s change of plans was an act of cowardice.
“Najib is afraid of the pressure after being challenged by university students,” he told FMT.
SMM and other student activist groups had intended to hand over a memorandum to the prime minister over the suspension and subsequent investigation of UIA law expert Abdul Aziz Bari.
Citing inside information, Ahmad Syukri said that the prime minister had cancelled his UIA visit to attend the funeral of Saudi crown prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, who passed away on Oct 22.
“It’s just an excuse, but we will still hand over our memorandum to whomever is replacing the prime minister.”
Ahmad Syukri revealed that Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein would go to UIA tonight in place of Najib.
He also said that the university had allegedly spent about RM100,000 to prepare for Najib’s attendance.
Hundreds of university students gathered in UIA last Friday following Aziz’s suspension. Calling the move “tyrannical”, the students accused the university of pleasing political forces.
In an Oct 12 Malaysiakini article, Aziz claimed that it was not wrong to criticise royalty. He also commented on the Selangor Sultan’s decree on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) row with the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (JAIS).
Although suspended at first, Aziz’s suspension was lifted by the university. Nevertheless, investigations against the professor are still ongoing.