Pua fails to obtain leave to appeal over his travel ban challenge

DAP publicity chief Tony Pua speaks to Malay Mail Online in Petaling Jaya on June 6, 2017. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
DAP publicity chief Tony Pua speaks to Malay Mail Online in Petaling Jaya on June 6, 2017. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 6 — Petaling Jaya Utara Member of Parliament Tony Pua has failed to obtain leave from the Federal Court to appeal against the Immigration director-general’s order to bar him from travelling overseas.

Chief Justice Tun Md Raus Sharif who chaired a three-man panel, today unanimously dismissed Pua’s application for leave to appeal.

In his decision, Md Raus said the law was settled in Loh Wai Kong’s case in 1979.

In that case, Loh had sought a court ruling that Malaysian citizens were entitled to travel overseas as a fundamental right under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution but the Federal Court ruled that there was no such right.

The other judges in the panel were Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and Federal Court judge Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi.

On July 5, this year, Pua lost his appeal at the appellate court which ruled that the director-general was empowered to bar Malaysian citizens from travelling overseas without giving any reason.

The Court of Appeal’s three-man panel had also ruled that personal liberty guaranteed to citizens in Article 5 of the Federal Constitution did not include the citizen’s right to travel abroad.

It also ruled that a passport was a privilege accorded to citizens by the government, and not a citizen’s right to travel abroad.

In July last year, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur dismissed Pua’s judicial review application to quash the director-general’s decision to stop him from travelling overseas.

Pua, 44, claimed he was prevented from leaving the country at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) on July 2, 2015.

The DAP national publicity secretary said he was scheduled to go to Yogyakarta that day using his passport which was valid until April 23, 2020.

Although the travel ban on Pua was lifted on May 20, last year, he pursued the appeal to seek damages and wanted the court to determine the limits of the director-general’s power. 

Pua’s counsel, Gobind Singh Deo posed three legal questions for determination of the apex court.

Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan representing the director-general and the government argued that there were no novel issues which judicial authorities had not decided upon. — Bernama

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