Wednesday 25 May 2011

Election watchdog head thrown out of Kuching

Penang-based Malaysian Election Observation Network coordinator Ong Boon Keong, who was detained by men from the Kuching Immigration office yesterday, was deported from the Sarawak capital at 8 last night.

"They told me to leave Sarawak, without giving any formal notice or document. They orally said that I must leave, and that there is an Immigration order barring me from entering Sarawak," Ong told Malaysiakini this morning.

NONEHe criticised his deportation as unjust, not transparent and arising from political intentions and therefore, he would consider suing the Sarawak government.

Ong (left) told Malaysiakini yesterday that he believes the authorities reacted to allegations he made about vote-buying during the Sarawak election last month.

"Opposition parties have made the same accusation. They cannot show proof, but we can, and this has disturbed some state politicians."

He said today that when he entered Sarawak on May 21, he was given a 90-day stay permit, but when he was unjustly thrown out of the state last night, the authorities never revealed the reason for his deportation.
'Democratic societies should be accountable'

"Government administrations of democratic societies should be transparent and accountable; such moves like this shouldn't be decided by just one person."

Ong said that two other NGO activists, Bersih 2.0 president Ambiga Sreenevasan and member Wong Chin Huat, had been barred from entering Sarawak during the recent state election, and that both were preparing to sue the Sarawak government.

He would therefore consult with them on whether he too should take legal action against his deportation from Sarawak last night.

The deportation had partly affected his post-election watch work and Ong hoped this incident would not affect election watch activities in Sarawak in the coming general election.

Ong was taken in by Immigration Department officers in Kuching at 11am yesterday and kept in their office. It was only at 4pm that the officers questioned him about his visit to Sarawak, for some 30 minutes.
At 6.30pm, he was taken to the Kuching airport and put on an 8pm flight to the KL International Airport.

"They can go so far to find me, yet they can't catch all the illegal immigrates running around Sarawak," Ong said.

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