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Taib may bar Jeffrey, Anwar from Sarawak

KOTA KINABALU: Embattled Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud may soon slap a “persona non grata” order on Jeffrey Kitingan and Anwar Ibrahim, two influential opposition leaders.

Insiders in the know have tipped off FMT that Taib’s circle is mulling the drastic action to stop the two from bolstering the state opposition PKR and SNAP ahead of the impending state election.
An insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Taib’s political aides recently suggested state use its powerful immigration powers to deny entry to few peninsular opposition leaders, notably Anwar, and Jeffrey from Sabah.
Apparently this is to stem the tide of critical views, especially from the Dayaks who are questioning Taib and his 30-year regime.
Taib, however, sidestepped the idea for the time being, convinced that such action might not necessarily weaken the opposition groups but could instead embolden more people to go up openly against him.
Recently a political secretary to Taib issued a warning to Sarawakians not to fall into the trap of Jeffrey.
Observers said his statement underlines the worries of Taib’s men on the expanding clout of the leader of United Borneo Front (UBF) among the Dayaks.

Possible threat
Asked on the possibility of such an order, academician Dr Dusit Jaul, who is also Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association president, said: “It is a real possibility… if Jeffrey and Anwar are deemed a threat to the state.”
Sarawak Dayak National Union president, Mengga Mikui, also agreed with Dusit that Taib might slap a ban on the two opposition leaders, especially in the run-up to the crucial state election.
The Sarawak government has been banning outside politicians and social activists for years from entering the state.
Among the recent victims were DAP leader Lim Kit Siang, Subang MP R Sivarasa, Padang Serai MP Gobalakrishnan and Sabah Suhakam commissioner, Jannie Lasimbang.
Sarawak and Sabah derive their powerful immigration power from the Part VII (Section 61-66) under Special Provision for East Malaysia of the Malaysian Immigration Act 1959/1963. This gives the states unfettered power to decide who can and cannot enter the states.
The Act also empowers the two states to ban locals from leaving the states by impounding their passport. In Sarawak, there are anti-logging activists who had been slapped with this order.
Sabah, however, has seldom used this power for more than two decades.

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