KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 — Civil rights activist Haris Ibrahim confirmed today that the Australian immigration had rejected his visa application earlier this week but said there was no reason given for doing so.
Haris, a lawyer by profession, would not, however, confirm or deny if the rejection had been due to his impending sedition trial in the local courts, noting in a blog posting here of plans to appeal the application.
“Last Thursday, 19th September, I received the notice of refusal in relation to my application for a visa, from the Australian authorities, and the reasons wherefor.
“I return home this week and am hoping to get the opportunity to meet the relevant officer(s) at the Australian High Commission with a view to allaying some misapprehensions they appear to have about my intended visit to their country, and, if possible, a re-consideration of their earlier decision on my application,” he wrote in the posting.
“For that reason, I will not say anymore on this matter,” the Anything But Umno (ABU) founder added.
Explaining his reason for the visa, the fiery political activist said he had made plans to fly to Sydney for a personal matter on September 25 and at the same time, had also been invited as a speaker for several events in the same Australian city and two other - Canberra and Melbourne.
News portal The Malaysian Insider carried a news report yesterday on Haris’ visa rejected, quoting an unnamed source from Global Bersih in Melbourne as saying that it was because the leader could pose a “high risk” if permitted into Australia.
The report also cited Haris’ sedition trial as reason and noted that Australia does not have an extradition treaty with Malaysia.
Haris, along with several others, including two opposition politicians and two other activists like himself, were recently slapped sedition charges over remarks allegedly uttered during a May 13 forum on the results of Election 2013.
They had allegedly urged for the Malaysian government to be toppled through unlawful means.
The court will hear Haris’s case on January 15 and 16 next year.