Did CM Adenan violate Immigration Act under Legal Advice?

The recent sudden increase in the list of persons banned from entering Sarawak is shocking. The denial of persons entering into Sarawak and including Sabah is not only undemocratic and undermines voters’ right to be informed in the upcoming state elections, but most of all, it is illegal.

BERSIH 2.0 holds Sarawak Legal Adviser, JC Fong to be duty bound to explain to Malaysians how “election campaigning” or “championing of free and fair elections” has become “illegitimate” in Sarawak to warrant deportation of opposition leaders if Section 67 of the Immigration Act is not violated. The affected parties deserve to know his position and his role in the matter to decide the next course of action on Adenan and him.

Bersih 2.0 calls upon Sarawak Legal Adviser to tell the Malaysian public if he was consulted by Sarawak Chief Minister YAB Adenan Satem in barring entry of and deporting politicians and activists and if he has advised the CM to do so.

The banning explicitly violates Section 67 of the Immigration Act, 1959/63 which states:

66(1) shall not have effect in relation to a citizen entering the East Malaysian State for the sole purpose of engaging in legitimate political activity,  but the burden of proof that a person is entitled to enter the East Malaysian State under this section shall lie on him.

(Subsection 66(1) concerns the “restriction on citizen’s right to enter an East Malaysian state”.)

The most recent banning fervor is related to election, ranging from opposition campaigners to BERSIH activists who are championing for free and fair elections. The list of persona non-grata also includes other opposition leaders like Mohamad Sabu, Rafizi Ramli, Teresa Kok, and BERSIH 2.0 activists such as Ambiga Sreenevasan, Maria Chin Abdullah, Wong Chin Huat and Mandeep Singh.

Also denied entry to Sarawak are many activists involved in environmental, religious or civil liberties causes. This includes former Suhakam commissioner, Jannie Lasimbang, and other champions of indigenous rights like Carol Yong, Colin Nicholas and Jerald Joseph.

CM Adenan Satem has also insinuated that YB Wan Azizah, YB Lim Kit Siang, and YB Lim Guan Eng may be added on to the list.

BERSIH 2.0 warns that Adenan must not forget that once the State Assembly has been dissolved, he is no longer the Chief Minister and that the Election Commission should take over the management of the coming elections. The banning of any activists and politicians by Adenan Satem or by any of those in the state government when dissolution had set in definitely, shows poor governance and continuation of the illegality.

Adenan’s illegal action has given a bad name to Sarawak’s internal immigration power.


Issued by:

BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee