BAU, Sept 23 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is free to enter Sarawak, Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg said today.
He said he will not stop the Pakatan Harapan chairman or other Opposition leaders from entering the state, and explained that only extremists such as Umno’s Datuk Jamal Yunos and Perkasa’s Datuk Ibrahim Ali were not welcome.
“If they want to come, let them come,” he said to reporters, referring to Dr Mahathir as well as other national opposition leaders such as Lim Kit Siang and Dr Hatta Ramli who are scheduled to attend a political gathering in Kuching tomorrow night.
The chief minister, who spoke to reporters after officiating the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Bau district office building, was asked to respond to the concern expressed by Sarawak Pakatan Harapan chairman Chong Chieng Jen yesterday.
Dr Mahathir is scheduled to arrive at 4.45pm tomorrow while Lim is due to be in the state at 1.30pm the same day.
Chong, who is also Sarawak DAP chairman and Bandar Kuching MP, said yesterday that there was no reason for the state government to ban Dr Mahathir, Lim and Dr Hatta from entering Sarawak for the PH’s political gathering at Taman BDC in Kuching.
His concern was based on the state government’s previous use of its autonomous power over immigration to deny entry to the national opposition leaders trying to participate in legitimate political activities in Sarawak.
Among those still barred from entering Sarawak are Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli, Batu MP Chua Tian Chang, Subang MP R. Sivarasa, Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, and Parti Sosialis Malaysia deputy secretary-general Bawani S. Kanniappan.