KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — The Immigration Department has lifted a travel ban against former attorney general Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, his lawyer said today.
M. Visvanathan said his client was informed that he was no longer barred from leaving the country in a letter dated May 8, and so is withdrawing his judicial review application challenging the travel ban, news portal Free Malaysia Today reported.
“There is nothing to bar him from travelling now.
“On behalf of Tan Sri, we thank the Pakatan Harapan government for the decision and for ensuring that individuals’ right to travel is guaranteed.
“After receiving the letter, he went to the Immigration Department a day later to apply for a passport so he could travel to the UK to attend his stepson’s long call to the English Bar,” the lawyer was quoted saying at the High Court here this morning.
Federal counsel Istisyhad Ismail confirmed the cancellation of Apandi’s travel ban to High Court judge Mariana Yahya today.
The news portal also reported Apandi saying that the ban was unconstitutional as he was not given the right to be heard before the decision was made by the government.
According to Apandi, he was verbally informed of the restriction on February 22 when he went to the Immigration Department in Jalan Dutamas to apply for a passport.
The report said that the former Federal Court judge had initially sought a court declaration that the ban imposed on him, violated his fundamental rights under Articles 5 (1), 8 and 9 of the Federal Constitution.
Apandi also sought a declaration that the Immigration Department had acted beyond its jurisdiction and that the government did not have absolute discretion in enforcing the travel restriction.
News portal Malaysiakini found that Apandi’s MyKad number was among four that did not fall under the Tiada halangan (no restriction) category in May last year after cross-checking with the Immigration Department’s blacklist.
The retired judge who was appointed AG during the Najib administration was put on garden leave after Pakatan Harapan took Putrajaya in the 14th general election.
Apandi was given a 30-day unrecorded leave starting May 15, 2018 after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that Solicitor-General Engku Nor Faizah Engku Atek would stand in for him with immediate effect.
Other prominent figures with a travel ban imposed in May last year include former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, former inspector-general of police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Irwan Serigar Abdullah and former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad.