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MCLM Condemns Abuse Of Immigration Powers By Sarawak State Government

On 29th September, 2011, I was scheduled to speak that evening at a Rakyat Reform Agenda forum organised by Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) at the Grand Continental Hotel, Kuching, Sarawak.  

Similar forums had, on the 27th and 28th September, been successfully held at Kota Kinabalu and Tawau respectively.

Upon my arrival at the airport from Kuching, having flown in from Kota Kinabalu around 5.15pm yesterday, I was informed by immigration officers, vide a written notice of refusal of entry, that,  pursuant to section 65(1) of the Immigrations Act, 1959/63, the state authority had, without affording me any reasons, directed that no pass be issued to me to enter the state of Sarawak.

At about 7pm, I was escorted onto an aircraft bound for Kuala Lumpur.

Whilst MCLM acknowledges that pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement, 1963 and the 18-point agreement, the Sarawak government has the prerogative in the matter of the issuance or withholding of entry passes for purposes of entry into its territory, such powers cannot be exercised to deny entry into Sarawak, particularly in relation to a citizen of the Federation of Malaysia, without furnishing good reason for the same.

This was the second time that I had been denied entry into Sarawak, the first being on 13th April, 2011, 3 days before polling during the last Sarawak state elections. Then, too, no reasons were afforded to me by the state authorities.At the time, several other human rights and civil liberties activists also faced the same treatment by the Sarawak authorities, including Bersih’s Ambiga Sreenivasan and Wong Chin Huat.

MCLM condemns the action of the Sarawak state government in continuing to abuse its powers in refusing to citizens of the Federation of Malaysia the right to move freely within Sarawak.

MCLM is presently consulting solicitors in Sarawak and will consider all its options to seek redress for this most irresponsible action on the part of the Sarawak state government.

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