Open letter to IGP and Immigration regarding harassment against BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee

13, Lorong 4/48E,
Section 4,

46050 Petaling Jaya

Tan Sri Ismail bin Haji Omar,
Inspector General of Police
Royal Malaysian Police
Bukit Aman
50560 Kuala Lumpur
Dato’ Alias bin Ahmad
Director General of Immigration
Headquarters of the Immigration Department Malaysia
Ministry of Home Affairs
Level 1-7 (Podium) No 15
Persiaran Perdana, Precint 2
62550 Putrajaya                                                                           23 October 2012
End harassment against BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee members
Dear Sirs,
We, the BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee, wish to state our strong concern and convey our objections over the continuing incidents of harassment faced by various Committee members in recent weeks. Seven members (Ambiga Sreenevasan, Maria Chin Abdullah, Andrew Khoo, Wong Chin Huat, Yeo Yang Poh, Toh Kin Woon, and K. Arumugam) have been unnecessarily delayed by immigration officials at airports (and other exit points) before being allowed to board their flights or proceed with their journey.
Most recently, the scenario has become especially bizarre when Committee member Ahmad Syukri Che Ab Razab, who was born in Sabah, was told by the Kota Kinabalu immigration officers that the office of the Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman had served a refusal of entry notice on him on 21 October2012. Syukri was forced to board a flight back to Kuala Lumpur despite having been scheduled to speak at a workshop in Kota Kinabalu.
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 the same. 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, Wong Chin Huat, and Maria Chin Abdullah are no longer allowed to enter Sarawak.
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. None of the individuals involved has received any acceptable explanation for these harassments. We demand that the IGP and the Director General of Immigration provide an immediate response and take the necessary action to ensure these harassments cease.
Recently, when the IGP was questioned on this issue, he merely passed the buck to the Immigration Department. However, the Director General of Immigration has already stated that his officers are 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.
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 elections.
BERSIH 2.0 urges the government to immediately cease its harassment of all civil society groups and individuals, and to instead engage meaningfully with them in creating the necessary reforms which are so urgently needed before the next elections.
Thank you.
Steering Committee
Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (BERSIH 2.0)
The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0 comprises:
Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan (Co-Chairperson), Datuk A. Samad Said (Co-Chairperson), Ahmad Shukri Abdul Razab, Andrew Ambrose, Andrew Khoo, Anne Lasimbang, Arul Prakkash, Arumugam K., Awang Abdillah, Dr Farouk Musa, Hishamuddin Rais, Liau Kok Fah, Maria Chin Abdullah, Matthew Vincent, Niloh Ason, Richard Y W Yeoh, Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Dato’ Yeo Yang Poh and Zaid Kamaruddin