S’wak comes under fire for barring PKR leaders


Sarawak state government chided for barring opposition leaders from entering the state

(FMT) – PKR urged the Sarawak state government not to breach the Immigration Act and Federal Constitution in view of some of its leaders being denied entry into the state.

In a statement today, PKR vice president N Surendran criticised the state government for recently barring three of its top leaders, namely Saifuddin Nasution, Tian Chua and Rafizi Ramli, from entering the state.

“This was an arrogant, unconstitutional and undemocratic act by the state government and new Chief Minister Adenan Satem,” the Padang Serai MP said.

He added that in barring the PKR leaders into the state, the state had deliberately breached section 67 of the Immigration Act 1959 and 1963.

“Section 67 states that Sarawak cannot deny entry where the sole purpose of the persons seeking entry is to engage in ‘legitimate political activity.’

“The trio had tried to enter Sarawak to campaign for the Balingian by-election. It is shocking that the Sarawak BN government has no hesitation to act in such a lawless manner, in disregard of the clear provisions of the Immigration Act,” Surendran explained.

Surendran added that the largest state in Malaysia also breached Article 9(2) of the Federal Constitution which guarantees freedom of movement within the Federation.

“Although Sarawak has the power to deny entry to West Malaysians, this power must be exercised strictly within the limits of the Federal Constitution as prescribed in Article 9(3) of the Constitution and the Immigration Act.

“The real purpose of immigration control, as stated by the Cobbold Commission in 1962, was to prevent the sparsely populated East Malaysia to be overwhelmed by an influx of West Malaysians. It was never the intention for immigration controls to be misused to prevent legitimate political activity.” he stressed.

Surendran alleged that Barisan Nasional (BN) was using the Immigration Act to prevent Pakatan Rakyat from campaigning effectively in the Balingian state seat by-election.

He urged Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, Adenan and BN to stop underhand and illegal tactics, and to allow for a free and fair by-election.

“(It is) in blatant disregard of the electoral process. Tian Chua, Rafizi and Saifuddin are leaders of PKR, which has fielded a candidate in the by-election.

“They had an absolute right under our laws to enter Sarawak and participate in the election campaign,” he added.