Tuesday 23 October 2012

Cease 'harassment' immediately, urges Bersih

1:04PM Oct 23, 2012  
Bersih steering committee members are up in arms over the continued persecution by the authorities, saying seven of them have to date been “unnecessarily delayed” at airports by immigration officers, and the latest was where a native Sabahan was barred from his own state.

NONEIn an open letter to inspector-general of police Ismail Omar and Immigration Department director-general Alias Ahmad, the committee highlighted the most recent case where Sabah-born Ahmad Syukri Ab Razab (left) was denied entry into the East Malaysian state at the Kota Kinabalu airport on Oct 21.

Deeming the incident as "especially bizarre", the committee said: "Bersih 2.0 demands an immediate explanation from the authorities for preventing a native Sabahan from entering his own state. We see no justification for this.

"This latest episode shows the escalation of unreasonable and arbitrary administrative actions in our country, as in the past several civil society members from West Malaysia have been barred from entering East Malaysia.

"To name but a few: Bersih 2.0 co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan and committee members Wong Chin Huat and Maria Chin Abdullah are no longer allowed to enter Sarawak."
NONEFurther to this, they added that they had also faced harassment during international journeys where other than Ambiga, Maria and Wong (front row, from left), four others were briefly detained by immigration officers, namely Andrew Khoo Yeo Yang Poh, Toh Kin Woon and K Arumugam.

“Such heavy-handed and senseless actions by the authorities in prohibiting or restricting the freedom of movement of its own citizens, which freedom is guaranteed by the federal constitution, must not be allowed to continue,” they said.

The steering committee also called on Musa not to side-step the apparent flag that the police have placed on their travel activities.

“The immigration director-general has already stated that his officers are stopping these travellers at the behest of the police. The police cannot conveniently wash its hands or divert attention to the Immigration Department,” the committee said.

They added that the government should cease harassing all civil society group but to instead engage them for meaningful reforms in the electoral system.

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