Bersih: Banning of opposition, civil society leaders in Sarawak violation of immigration law

Bersih 2.0  said Sarawak chief minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem (pictured) should have consulted the legal adviser before banning opposition and civil society leaders ahead of the state elections. —  File pic
Bersih 2.0 said Sarawak chief minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem (pictured) should have consulted the legal adviser before banning opposition and civil society leaders ahead of the state elections. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — The Sarawak government’s banning of opposition and civil society leaders ahead of the state elections violates Section 67 of the Immigration Act, electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 said today.

In a statement, the Bersih 2.0 steering committee said that Sarawak legal adviser, Datuk JC Fong, should clarify matters and state whether state chief minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem had consulted him before banning people from the state.

“Bersih 2.0 calls upon Sarawak Legal Adviser to tell the Malaysian public if he was consulted by Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem in barring entry of and deporting politicians and activists and if he has advised the CM to do so,” Bersih said.

It also said that Adenan’s actions had given a “bad name” for Sarawak’s internal immigration powers.

Ahead of the state elections expected to take place at the end of this month, more than 20 DAP politicians, several PKR and Amanah leaders have all been denied entry into the state.

Among those who have featured in the list of barred persons include DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua, PKR secretary general Rafizi Ramli, and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu.

Activists, including Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah and former co-chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan are also on the list.

Subsection 66 (1) of the Act states that restriction on a citizen’s right to enter an East Malaysian state shall not have an effect for the “sole purpose of engaging in legitimate political activity.” “Bersih 2.0 warns that Adenan must not forget that once the State Assembly has been dissolved, he is no longer the Chief Minister and that the Election Commission should take over the management of the coming elections,” the statement said.

“The banning of any activists and politicians by Adenan Satem or by any of those in the state government when dissolution had set in definitely, shows poor governance and continuation of the illegality,” it added.