KOTA KINABALU, Sept 2 ― DAP leader Lim Guan Eng was stopped from entering Sabah because he was on the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission’s (MACC) watchlist, said Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal today.
The caretaker Sabah chief minister said that he was informed by the Sabah Immigration Department director that the order was given by the federal body.
“I was made to understand by the director... I asked him why? Because the state government has not issued any block order against anyone. We will only do it for specific reasons ― if that person can cause disorder or fights, then we will prevent them from entering.
“I was told that Guan Eng is on an MACC list, so they said this was an arrangement made from KL. But we have our own laws, and KL can only decide on income tax and MACC cases, even then they are only prevented from travelling abroad,” he said, adding that maybe he was being warned not to leave the country from Sabah.
Shafie said that the matter ought to be coordinated with the state authorities because under the Constitution, immigration matters fall under the state’s jurisdiction.
“We cannot just let them decide at the federal level because this is under our jurisdiction. It is in the constitution, it is our right and we need to have cooperation between the state and federal government,” he said.
He also said that the MACC and federal government need to ensure the same rule applies to everyone and not just specific individuals.
“If everyone who has an MACC case can’t enter then even Najib can’t come in, the same with other leaders. There cannot be double standards, so that the laws apply to some but not everyone.
“Some people returned from Turkey and didn’t follow the standard operating procedures and just got issued a fine, without having to go to jail,” he pointed out, in a dig at Plantation and Commodities Minister Datuk Dr Khairuddin Aman Razali who was found out to have returned from abroad and did not comply with the 14 day mandatory quarantine.
Khairuddin was later issued an RM1,000 compound for flouting the rules.
Late last night, Lim had flown into Sabah but was told by Immigration officers that he was not allowed to enter. He was allowed to leave the airport once but before he could leave, was told to re-enter the airport.
After holding him for about 50 minutes, he was eventually allowed to leave the airport.
However, MACC Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki reportedly said the agency had nothing to do with the delay of nearly an hour that Lim faced yesterday before he was eventually allowed in.
Last month, Lim pleaded not guilty after he was charged with allegedly seeking a bribe to help a company be appointed for the infrastructure works including the RM6.3 billion Penang undersea tunnel project.
In two other separate cases, he also claimed trial to a graft charge involving RM3.3 million over the multi-billion ringgit undersea tunnel project, and a separate graft charge involving businesswoman Phang Li Koon.