11 APRIL 2016
The banning of Penang State Exco member Dato’ Abdul Malik Abdul Kassim yesterday by the Sarawak authorities is a sign that the Chief Minister is no different from his predecessor, whatever he may say and in spite of the nice-guy image that he tries to cultivate.
We agree that the rights of Sarawakians should be protected, including our rights to control entry under the Immigration Act. However, the power to deny entry must be exercised in good faith and for the right reasons, such as to keep out extremists and criminals. The parliamentarians and assemblymen and assemblywomen who have been banned by the Chief Minister were coming for the ‘sole purpose of engaging in legitimate political activity’, which is permitted under s 67 of the Immigration Act. These visits were merely to see our PKR members and to discuss party matters. The flimsy excuses given by BN politicians for the banning of opposition leaders are only attracting ridicule and scorn from the public.
Our right to deny entry under the Immigration Act 1959 was designed to prevent the exploitation of Sarawakians at a time when we were lagging behind in economic and infrastructure development. Sadly, it has been used by the BN administration as a political tool for many years. This is a blatant case of abuse of power by the CM who is clearly determined that there will be no level playing field in Sarawak during the elections next month.
The public is free to judge for themselves whether this is a leader worth supporting – someone who does not play fair, and who will resort to lowly tactics to gain unfair advantage over his opponents. It is time to vote out the BN who have had too many years and too many chances. Sarawak is still one of the poorest ‘states’ in Malaysia and we are lagging behind in every aspect. BN is only interested in protecting their own interests, when they should be treating Sarawakians with the respect they deserve. Do not insult Sarawakians’ intelligence by depriving them of their rights to fair and free elections and to make fully informed choices. By banning opposition members and giving lame excuses, the CM is showing his weakness: his fear that the public may actually favour the alternative vision of the opposition for their future. What is there to fear if you have done a good job as CM?
A Pakatan Harapan government will protect and preserve the rights of Sarawakians, but in a proper and legitimate manner. Fairness and justice must be restored to the administration of Sarawak for the better future of Sarawakians.
Chairman, PKR Sarawak