KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was denied entry into Tokyo today and told to take the first flight home or face deportation, supposedly over an unknown “report” on the leader.
The Opposition Leader, in a statement to record his protest this evening, said he had arrived at the Narita International Airport at 6.45am this morning from Kuala Lumpur but was stopped by Japanese immigration officials who told him to return home.
Anwar said the authorities explained that he was not permitted into the country because of his previous corruption conviction in 1999, but the leader said this made little sense as he had entered Tokyo on three separate occasions in 2006, 2009 and 2012 without hindrance.
“I told the immigration authorities there must be some mix-up in this matter and protested that it was not proper for them to bar me from entering the country without a bona fide and valid reason,” he said in the statement.
“As I persisted in asking for an explanation, they finally told me that they had to take this action ‘because of a latest report’ possibly in 2013,” he related.
Left with no choice, Anwar said he was forced to take the next flight home at 10.45am.
The PKR de facto chief explained that he had travelled to Tokyo on a personal invitation by the Nippon Foundation chairman, one Mr Sasakawa, to present a paper on Muslim Democrats.
As a routine pre-travel procedure, Anwar said his office had made the necessary enquiries with the Japanese embassy in Kuala Lumpur last week and was told that there would be no problem with his entry into the country.
He lashed out at the authorities for blocking his entry into Japan, calling it “unwarranted action” by the Japanese government and a denial of his right to travel freely.
“It is indeed inconceivable for one of the world’s leading democracies to take this unprecedented action under such tenuous grounds and leaves me with the impression that hidden hands may be at work here,” he said.
The Opposition Leader also demanded an explanation from Malaysia’s Foreign Affairs minister on what role Wisma Putra had allegedly played in barring his entry from Japan, citing the “latest report” that the Japanese had used to evict him.