The steering committee has expressed incredulity that its Sabah-born member was barred from entering the state and pens a letter to the IGP and immigration department.
PETALING JAYA: A “bizzare” situation involving a Bersih steering committee member has prompted the election watchdog to pen a letter to Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar and Immigration Department director-general Alias Ahmad.
In the letter dated Oct 23, Bersih leaders expressed incredulity that Sabah-born Ahmad Syukri Che Ab Razab was forced to board a flight back to Kuala Lumpur despite being scheduled to speak at a workshop in Kota Kinabalu.
Bersih wanted an explanation on this issue as the movement saw no justification in prohibiting a native Sabahan from entering his own state.
Other Bersih members were also barred from entering East Malaysia. None of them had received any explanation on these harassments.
“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 co-chairperson S Ambiga, Wong Chin Huat, and Maria Chin Abdullah are no longer allowed to enter Sarawak,” read the letter.
“Such heavy-handed and senseless actions by the authorities in prohibiting or restricting the freedom of movement of its own citizens must not be allowed to continue,” stressed Bersih.
The steering committee wanted the relevant authorities to take the necessary action to cease harassment of this magnitude.
Warning the government of a possible electoral repercussion, Bersih said: “The Malaysian electorate will not tolerate such unjust and unequal treatment of its fellow citizens, who are involved in raising awareness on the need for urgent electoral reforms as well as the power of each citizen’s vote in the coming general election.”
The letter also noted how Ismail had passed the buck to the immigration department when quizzed on why Bersih leaders were being harassed at airports.
“However, the director-general of immigration had already stated that his officers were stopping these travellers at the behest of the police (except perhaps in the case of Ahmad Syukri).
“The police cannot conveniently wash its hands, or divert attention to the immigration department,” stated the letter.