Simon (second left) presenting a memorandum to Adenan, witnessed by Gabriel (left) and Sutinah (right). — Photo by Chimon Upon
KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem has given assurance to The Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4) that he will look into reviewing the state’s policy of banning ‘unwanted individuals’ from Peninsular Malaysia to enter Sarawak.
C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel, who was part of the delegation that paid a courtesy call on the chief minister at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex, told reporters after the meeting yesterday that Adenan was cooperative when asked on the lifting of the ban on other Peninsular Malaysia activists.
“We urged him not to use this policy of banning individuals, like the recent ban of (Lembah Pantai MP) Nurul Izzah Anwar is quite unfortunate and should not have happened.
“I think his point was that he would review the cases individually and look at how best to actually deal with the situation of looking at Malaysia as an integral country and that Malaysian citizens should be able to move around freely according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 13 and so on,” she said.
Gabriel, who herself has been banned from entering the state since 2005 over her activities to stop the construction of the Bakun Hydroelectric Dam and on the welfare of the Penans when she was with Suara Rakyat Malaysa (Suaram), also disclosed that her ban was temporarily lifted for three days to allow her to join the C4 delegation led by its chairman Tan Sri Panglima Simon Sipaun and advisor Datuk Sutinah Sutan at the meeting.
“I’m also banned from Sarawak but he (Adenan) lifted it for this meeting and even said he felt bad that it had to happen that way.”
However, she pointed out that Adenan also made it very clear that he does not welcome extremists to the state.
According to her, Adenan named two individuals as extremists, namely Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali and controversial figure Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah.
Other issues that were discussed included the proposal for the state government to set up an ombudsman office to investigate and collect complaints and put its website up as well as the proposal for a tripartite method of working between the government, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and civil society to look at public education in Sarawak, to better understand corruption issues, why it’s important to lodge reports on wrongdoings and how MACC can incorporate public participation in their investigation process.
“He also asked us questions on the issue of official secrets and freedom of information…how we can actually help the state to collaborate better in developing an enactment.
“He said he will put this under consideration in the future to actually get freedom of information enactment going in the long term for the state,” said Gabriel.
Meanwhile, Simon said Sarawak had done a very good job in preventing illegal immigrants from entering the state.
“Don’t get into the problem that Sabah is facing now. As far as I’m concerned, the probability is that there are more foreigners in the state (Sabah) than Malaysians and the biggest single community are actually the illegal immigrants,” he remarked.
Launched in January 2014, C4 was established to get cooperation from state authorities throughout the country including the federal government to try and eliminate or at least reduce incidence of corruption.