KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 ― The Home Ministry said today that local authorities had banned Al-Jazeera journalist Mary Ann Jolley from entering Malaysia because her actions were deemed a threat to national security and public order.
The ministry, in a written reply to a question by Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian yesterday, also said the ban was within the right of the Malaysian immigration.
“To answer the question, Al-Jazeera reporter Mary Ann Jolley was banned from entering the country because of her actions that could be prejudicial to national security and public order.
“The Immigration Act 1959/63 gives power to the immigration director-general to block the entry of any foreigner coming to Malaysia if it is believed that the individual could threaten national security,” the ministry said.
Hee had asked the ministry to state its reasons why Jolley, who hosted the September episode of Al-Jazeera’s “101 East” programme on the controversial Altantuya Shaariibuu murder, was barred from Malaysia.
In September, the Al-Jazeera news network resurrected the controversial brutal murder of Mongolian model Altantuya that many have accused the Malaysian government of covering up the past nine years.
The documentary featured an interview with an unidentified Australian said to be a relative of Sirul Azhar Umar, one of two elite police commandos who was convicted of killing the Mongolian woman.
Jolley in the programme had revealed that she was deported from Malaysia in June for reporting on the murder.
In September after the episode was aired, deputy home minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said that Putrajaya has the right to report whomever it chooses.
“She was deported in June. It’s an old issue. The government reserves the right to basically ask anybody to leave the country,” he said at a function then.