Press Release from Bersih 2.0
Dated: 15th November 2019
DR WONG CHIN HUAT REFUSED ENTRY AND MEDICAL ATTENTION AT KUCHING AIRPORT
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) is appalled that our Resource Person Dr. Wong Chin Huat was denied medical attention by Immigration officers at the Kuching Airport after his blood pressure shot up to 194/110 at hypertensive crisis level. Despite numerous requests for help by Wong, the officers ignored him. In desperation he had to personally appeal to the Minister of Health, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad by phone for help and the Minister immediately contacted a doctor in Kuching who came to Wong’s aid, more than two hours after his medical crisis. Only further through the intervention of Minister of Public Works Baru Bian, his hospitalisation was agreed by the state. He has largely recovered after the attentive treatment in the Kuching General Hospital and will be discharged and fly home.
Bersih 2.0 questions if the callousness of the Immigration officers on duty was because the Sarawak State Government has ordered the Immigration Department to carry out its order at all cost, even if human lives are at risk. Bersih 2.0 cautions civil servants to always remember humanity and also their personal liability in following politicians’ directions.
Wong was in Sarawak as a member of the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC), a special committee setup under the Prime Minister’s Department. He was barred from entering as he was on Sarawak’s “no entry list” but under Section 68(1) of the Immigration Act he has a right to enter as it states “any citizen whose entry into the East Malaysian State is temporarily required by the Federal Government in order to enable that Government to carry out its constitutional and administrative responsibilities”.
Wong was the main organiser of the workshop as head of the cluster on electoral system and constituency delimitation of the ERC. The workshop entiled “Mixed member proportional (MMP) and Constituency Delimitation: Experiences of Germany and New Zealand for Malaysians Reference” that includes foreign experts from New Zealand, Germany, the United States, is jointly organised the ERC, Bersih 2.0 and ENGAGE.
The Immigration Act that grants Sarawak and Sabah the right to deny entry to any non-residents of the East Malaysian states were never intended to restrict legitimate political activities nor to curb representatives of the Federal government from carrying out their duties. Section 67 and 68 of the Act expressly permits such groups.
Bersih 2.0 calls on the Sarawak state government to review the ban list and lift all bans on politicians and social activists as they violate the letter and spirit of the Immigration Act and the Malaysia Agreement. Not doing so would mean an abuse of state power for narrow political gains.
Bersih 2.0 wishes to record our gratitude to Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, YB Baru Bian, deputy law minister YB Hanipa Maidin, deputy health minister YB Lee Boon Chye, Petaling Jaya YB Maria Chin, Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, Batu Lintang ADUN YB See Chee How, and Primary Industries Minister YB Teresa Kok for attending to Dr Wong in his moment of crisis.
Statement issued by:
The Steering Committee of Bersih 2.0
Image credit : The Malaysian Insight