Legal Challenge on Taib Mahmud’s Abuse of Power on Immigration Control

Press Statement: 11 April 2011

Legal Challenge on Taib Mahmud’s Abuse of Power on Immigration Control

We, the undersigned civil society groups, condemn in the strongest sense the denial of electoral reform activist cum political scientist Dr Wong Chin Huat’s entry into Sarawak last Friday.

It is a blatant abuse of immigration power and an insult to Sarawak’s 18-Point Agreement upon the formation of Malaysia by the Sarawak’s caretaker Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.

This and the earlier barring of native rights activist Steven Ng, on the April 3, must be challenged legally in the court. We support fully such legal action, which is now being prepared, to protect Malaysians from violation of fundamental human rights and abuse of federalism.

Wong, Ng and others who have been barred earlier like Dr Kua Kia Soong, MP Sivarasa Rasiah, Cynthia Gabriel and Tan Seng Hin, have all been served a simple notice citing Sub-section 65(1)(a) of the Immigration Act which only states that the State Government has instructed the Director of Immigration Sarawak to deny their entry, without giving any reason.

Caretaker CM Taib Mahmud has shown complete contempt of the Section 67 of the Immigration Act which specifically provides for a citizen’s right of “entering the East Malaysian State for the sole purpose of engaging in legitimate political activity”.

Dr Wong’s trip to Sarawak was to observe the state elections and convey to the Sarawakian electorate two important messages: (a) that some 200,000 Sarawakians living outside Sarawak should have the right to vote via postal ballots – a demand which has been ignored by the Election Commission; (b) that bribery in elections is an criminal offence which may bring the maximum penalty of 2 years in imprisonment and a fine of RM 5,000, and provides no exemption for government officials.

We urge the Sarawakian electorate to hold accountable Caretaker CM Taib Mahmud on denying the entry of Wong, Ng, Kua, Rasiah, Gabriel, Tan and the likes. Is Wong’s advocacy of franchise for Sarawakians and against bribery illegitimate in the eyes of Taib Mahmud?

The Sarawakian electorate should condemn Taib’s abuse of power, which has damaged Sarawak’s legitimacy in maintaining its immigration control. This power was meant in the 18-point agreement to protect Sarawak from undesirable transmigration from West Malaysia and Sabah.


Endorsed by:

1.      Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (BERSIH 2.0)

2.      Bar Council Malaysia

3.      Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)

4.      Muslim Professional Forum (MPF)

5.      Kong Min School Old Pupils’ Association

6.      Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)

7.      Lawyers for Liberty (LfL)

8.      LLG Cultural Development Centre

9.      Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM)

10.  Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall

11.  Penang Chinese Independent Schools Education Society

12.  Persatuan Alumni Han Chiang, Pulau Pinang

13.  Persatuan Alumni Han Chiang Malaysia

14.  Persatuan Kelab Kawan Pulau Pinang (Lao Yew Lian Ye Hui)

15.  Pusat Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)

16.  Research for Social Advancement (REFSA)

17.  Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)

18.  Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

19.  The Micah Mandate

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