PRESS: Bank Islam acts unprofessionally and unjustly in suspending Azrul Azwar

Civil Society’s Joint Statement – 17 January 2013

We, the undersigned organisations and individuals, call on Bank Islam to reinstate its Chief Economist, Azrul Azwar Ahmad Tajudin, who has been suspended for presenting an analysis based on computer simulation which projects a probability weighted base-case scenario of Pakatan Rakyat’s victory in the 13thgeneral elections.

We hold that Bank Islam has acted unprofessionally, unjustly and without any basis by reportedly punishing Mr Azrul Azwar for his professional opinion, presented at the Regional Outlook Forum on January 10, 2013.

We understand that the economist had also generated a best-case scenario of a Barisan Nasional’s narrow win and a worst-case scenario of the ruling coalition’s big loss. For the record, no party has produced any methodical rebuttal to his analysis.

Consistent with the view of financial regulators and academics worldwide, we stress that information freedom is pertinent to the resource allocation mechanism of the financial markets. Freedom of expression and freedom of information are the best way to expose and correct any falsehood or misinformation. Analyses on elections and their economic and financial consequences are clearly of paramount importance for the markets and the country.

Hence, biased information results in unjust allocation and distorts the integrity of the markets.

By allegedly suppressing Mr Azrul Azwar’s professional opinion that was unfavourable to Barisan Nasional, maliciously labelled as “political comments”, Bank Islam is admitting that the Bank has a policy of reporting only Barisan Nasional favourable news.

It cannot be argued that Mr Azrul Azwar’s behaviour is reckless as his analysis has had no market impact and the FBMKLCI has barely moved – closed at 1684.57 on 10 January 2013 and 1682.95 on 16 January 2013. Besides, the basic tenet of banking and finance is assessing risks (be it political, economics), and that was what Mr Azrul Azwar did.

We call upon Bank Islam to immediately reinstate Mr Azrul Azwar to his position and manage its business professionally.

We also urge the BN government to join our call for Bank Islam to reinstate him. This will prove beyond doubt that the BN government has not pressured Bank Islam to suspend Mr Azrul Azwar and PM Najib Razak is genuinely committed to reform.

*endorsed by 51 Organisations and 105 academics and activists listed below

Endorsing Organisations

1.       Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran)

2.       All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)

3.       Anak Muda Sarawak (AMS)

4.       Bersih 3.0 Bangkok

5.       Bersih London

6.       Bersih Singapore

7.       Bersihkan Malaysia Perth

8.       Borneo Youth Revolution (BYR)

9.       Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)

10.   Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI)

11.   Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (Bersih 2.0)

12.   Community Action Network (CAN)

13.   Gabungan Profesional Malaysia Timur Tengah (GPMTT)

14.   Himpunan Hijau (HH)

15.   Humanity Library Kuala Lumpur

16.   Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)

17.   Japan Graduates’ Association of Malaysia

18.   Johor Yellow Flame (JYF)

19.   Kill The Bill (KTB)

20.   Knowledge and Rights with Young people through Safer Spaces (KRYSS)

21.   Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)

22.   Kuen Cheng Alumni Association

23.   Lawyers for Liberty (LfL)

24.   LLG Cultural Development Centre

25.   Malaysia Youth & Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)

26.   Malaysian Youth against Public Hazards

27.   Malaysians for Beng Hock (M4BH)

28.   Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (MAFREL)

29.   Mama Bersih

30.   Muslim Professional Forum (MPF)

31.   National Indian Rights Action Team (NIAT)

32.   Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH)

33.   Northern Green Youth

34.   Penang Forum

35.   People’s Green Coalition

36.   Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM KL & Selangor

37.   Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)

38.   Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)

39.   Persatuan Sains Sosial Malaysia (PSSM)

40.   Pertubuhan Gabungan NGO Kelantan (Coalition of  Kelantan NGOs)

41.   Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia

42.   Projek Dialog

43.   Pusat Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)

44.   Pusat Komas

45.   Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)

46.   Sisters in Islam (SIS)

47.   Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham)

48.   Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)

49.   Sunflower Electoral Education (SEED)

50.   Tenaganita

51.   Writer Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)

Endorsing Individuals (Disclaimer: The institutional/organizational affiliation of individuals is for identification purpose only and should not be taken to imply endorsement by their institutions/organisations).

1.       Prof Abdul Rahman Embong, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)

2.       Prof Diana Wong, University of Science Malaysia (USM)

3.       Prof Edmund Terence Gomez, University of Malaya (UM)

4.       Prof Francis Loh Kok Wah, Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran)

5.       Prof James Chin, Sarawak

6.       Prof Lim Teck Ghee, Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI)

7.       Prof Norani Othman, Sisters in Islam (SIS)

8.       Prof Rajah Rasiah, University of Malaya (UM)

9.       Prof Wan Manan, Malaysian Academic Movement (MOVE)

10.   Prof Woo Wing Thye, Penang Institute (PI)

11.   Prof Zaharom Nain, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

12.   Assoc. Prof Abdul Halim Yusof, University of Science Malaysia (USM)

13.   Assoc. Prof Bridget Welsh, Singapore Management University (SMU)

14.   Assoc. Prof Mustafa K. Anuar, University of Science Malaysia (USM)

15.   Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa, Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)

16.   Dr Ang Sze Wei, University of Hong Kong

17.   Dr Azly Rahman, WorldWise Frontiers

18.   Dr Charis Quay Huei Li, Université Paris-Sud (Orsay)

19.   Dr Cheong Kee Cheok, University of Malaya (UM)

20.   Dr Helen Ting, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)

21.   Dr Johan Saravanamuttu, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS)

22.   Dr Khoo Boo Teik, Aliran

23.   Dr Khoo Gaik Cheng, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

24.   Dr Lee Hock Guan, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS)

25.   Dr Lim Kim Hwa, Penang Institute (PI)

26.   Dr Lim Mah Hui, Penang Institute (PI)

27.   Dr Ong Kian Ming, UCSI University

28.   Dr Subatra Jayaraj, Bersih Bangkok

29.   Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Aliran

30.   Dr. Thillainathan Ramasamy, University of Malaya (UM)

31.   Dr Toh Kin Woon, Penang Institute (PI)

32.   Dr Wong Chin Huat, Penang Institute (PI)

33.   Dr Wong Yee Tuan, Penang Institute (PI)

34.   Dr Yeoh Seng Guan, Monash University Sunway Campus

35.   Dr Yolanda Augustin, University of London

36.   Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan, Bersih 2.0

37.   Dato’ Dr Musa bin Mohd Nordin, Damansara Specialist Hospital

38.   Dato’ Yeo Yang Poh, Bersih 2.0

39.   Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, Proham

40.   Adibah Jodi, Sisters in Islam (SIS)

41.   Alan Tee Boon Tsong, Johor Yellow Flame  (JYF)

42.   Altaf Deviyati Ismail, Penang Institute (PI)

43.   Andrew Cheng Yang Chong, Johor Yellow Flame  (JYF)

44.   Andrew Khoo, Bersih 2.0

45.   Angela M. Kuga Thas, DCI Candidate, Queensland University of Technology

46.   Anil Netto, Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran)

47.   Azareena Abdul Aziz, Sisters in Islam (SIS)

48.   Azrine Razak, Sisters in Islam (SIS)

49.   Chan Wei See, Sunflower Paper

50.   Chaw Teck Long, Johor Yellow Flame (JYF)

51.   Che Afandy Che Yusof, Penang Institute (PI)

52.   Chin Pok Yap, Bersihkan Malaysia Perth

53.   Chom Lee, Bersihkan Malaysia Perth

54.   Colin Rajah, Bersih San Francisco

55.   Dahlia Martin, Flinders University

56.   David Teoh, Bersih Melbourne

57.   Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, Suaram

58.   Greg Lopez, Australian National University (ANU)

59.   Ho Yock Lin, All Women’s Action Society Malaysia (AWAM)

60.   Jordan Sugunasingam, Bersihkan Malaysia Perth

61.   K. Arumugam, Suaram

62.   Kartina Mohd Sobri, Sisters in Islam (SIS)

63.   Kean Wong, Bersih Washington DC

64.   Koay Seng Beng, Penang Institute (PI)

65.   Koay Su Lyn, Penang Institute (PI)

66.   Koh Wee Sun, Mama Bersih

67.   Lau Chee Boon, Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH)

68.   Lee Chyi, Penang Institute (PI)

69.   Liau Koh Fah, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)

70.   Lim Chee Han, Hannover Medical School, Germany

71.   Lim Hong Siang, Sunflower Paper

72.   Mandeep Singh Karpall Singh, Pusat Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)

73.   Maria Chin Abdullah, Pusat Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)

74.   Masjaliza Hamzah, Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)

75.   Maxine Carr, Penang Institute (PI)

76.   Mohideen Abdul Kader, Consumer Association of Penang (CAP)

77.   Nazreen Nizam, Pusat Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)

78.   Ng Yap Hwa, Malaysians for Beng Hock (M4BH)

79.   Ngeow Chow Ying, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)

80.   Noorulhuda Mohd. Noor, Sisters in Islam (SIS)

81.   Ooi Heng, Political Studies for Change (KPRU)

82.   Ooi Pei Qi, Penang Institute (PI)

83.   Pam Wong, Bersih Auckland

84.   Ratna Osman, Sisters in Islam (SIS)

85.   Raymond Cheong, Bersihkan Malaysia Perth

86.   Rozana Isa, Sisters in Islam (SIS)

87.   Sarajun Hoda Abdul Hassan, Aliran

88.   Ser Choon Ing, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)

89.   Soon Yee Yap, Bersihkan Malaysia Perth

90.   Stephenie Aloysius, Pusat Komas

91.   Steven Sim Chee Keong, Penang Institute (PI)

92.   Stuart MacDonald, Penang Institute (PI)

93.   Suriani Kempe, Sisters in Islam (SIS)

94.   Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia

95.   T. Rajamoorthy, Regional Council for Human Rights in Asia

96.   Tan Hui Chun, Humanity Library Kuala Lumpur

97.   Tan Woen Tian, Kill The Bill

98.   Tang Ah Chai, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)

99.   Teoh Lee Lan, Malaysians for Beng Hock (M4BH)

100. Th’ng Bee Fu, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)

101. Tricia Yeoh, Pakatan Rakyat

102. Wang Lay Kim, University of Science Malaysia (USM)

103. William de Cruz, Bersih Sydney

104. Wong Tack, Himpunan Hijau (HH)

105. Zairil Khir Johari, Penang Institute (PI)

1 thought on “PRESS: Bank Islam acts unprofessionally and unjustly in suspending Azrul Azwar”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s