Three PKR leaders stopped from entering Sarawak


( – Three PKR national leaders were barred from entering Sarawak, as the state government embarked on a move to bar ‘racists and religious bigots’ from the state.

They are PKR strategist Rafizi Ramli, vice president Tian Chua and secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution.

Party de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who was part of the group that arrived at the Sibu Airport today, however, was spared.

Immigration Department officers stopped Anwar, Rafizi and Tian Chua upon their arrival at the airport about 2.30pm today.

Following checks, Rafizi and Tian Chua are now waiting to be deported but Anwar was allowed to enter the state.

This morning, PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution was stopped at the same airport upon his arrival at 11am. He was deported back to Kuala Lumpur this afternoon.

Saifuddin and the PKR leaders were supposed to assist state Pakatan Rakyat to campaign for the upcoming Balingian by-election.

It was learnt that Saifuddin’s name was in the list of the so-called “racist and religious bigots” that came following Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s statement on March 22 to reject certain individuals from entering Sarawak “to preserve religious harmony and political stability”.

The PKR national leaders were supposed to assist state Pakatan Rakyat members to campaign for the upcoming Balingian by-election in Mukah, a two-hour drive from Sibu.

Anwar, who appeared restless, told reporters that Adenan was making a big mistake by banning Opposition leaders and reiterated that PKR leaders are not racist.

Adenan, in a statement published on March 22, had said that the government would not hesitate to bar religious bigots, racists and trouble-makers from Sarawak, while those already here would be deported if they stoked racial and religious tensions.

State PKR leaders said they will seek judicial intervention on the state government’s directive to ban opposition leaders.

Meanwhile, state Immigration Department denied reports that Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali had entered the state recently.

In a statement, the department said they had conducted checks on their system and records but did not find any record of Ibrahim entering the state.

“The state Immigration Department had conducted checks on our system and record. At the time this statement was issued, Ibrahim did not enter the state of Sarawak.

However, the department did not clarify whether Ibrahim is blacklisted from entering Sarawak.

State PKR vice chairman See Chee How said that if the state government wanted to preserve the racial and religious harmony and political stability in Sarawak, Ibrahim should not be allowed to enter the state.

Many NGO leaders and activists have been banned from entering the state in the past years, especially before the 2011 state election. The list includes Bersih chief Datuk S. Ambiga, committee members Wong Chin Huat and Maria Chin, activists Steven Ng, Haris Ibrahim, Ong Boon Kiong, Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle.

Ambiga had in May 2011 filed a legal suit to challenge the state government’s deportation order but was dismissed by the Kuala Lumpur High Court.