Anwar, Lim visits to S’wak show state govt not scared: Daud
Posted By rajlira On 27th December 2008 @ 00:02 In Local
KUCHING: Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman yesterday said being scared was not why Padang Serai (Kedah) MP N. Gobalakrishnan was denied entry into Sarawak on Christmas Eve.
Describing the no-entry as an “isolated case”, Daud, the Barisan Nasional backbone Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu vice president, said the government generally allowed people to enter the state even if they were personalities like Pakatan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Democratic Action Party advisor Lim Kit Siang.
“We practise an open policy. Generally we allow people to enter Sarawak. We do not stop them from entering Sarawak. We let them in because we are not afraid of the opposition. We even have allowed Anwar and Lim Kit Siang to enter,” he told reporters after a function here yesterday.
Daud, who is also Tupong assemblyman, was commenting the latest issue where the PKR supreme council member cum Padang Serai MP (Kedah) N Gobalakrishnan was refused entry upon his arrival at the Kuching International Airport here on Christmas Eve.
When told that the Immigration Department refused the MP entry because of a directive from the State Secretariat, Daud said he was in the dark.
“I don’t know. I was not in the picture. But then again it’s up to the discretion of the Immigration Department,” he said.
When contacted yesterday Gobalakrishnan admitted that he was denied entry into Sarawak on Dec 26, 2008 because of his recent negative comments in Parliament about Sarawak.
He said he had already instructed lawyers here to initiate legal action against the relevant parties over the matter.
Gobalakrishnan admitted to having told Parliament issues relating to infrastructural development, particularly that of Kapit and Hulu Rajang; corruption; oil royalty and native customary land.
He was denied entry at the immigration counter of the Kuching International Airport around 5.30pm on Dec 24.
Immigration officers handed over to him a notice containing suggestions that he was not a resident of Sarawak and that he would only be allowed entry if he had a permit from the State.
“The moment I reached KIA, immigration officers told me that I was not allowed to enter due to an instruction from the State government. An officer gave me a notice which read: ‘Tuan bukan rakyat Sarawak, tidak berhak untuk masuk ke Sarawak tanpa permit atau pas Akta Imigresen 1959-1963’ (You are not a citizen of Sarawak and are not eligible to enter Sarawak without a permit or immigration pass),” he said.
State PKR liaison chief Dominique Ng who is Padungan assemblyman rushed to the airport to negotiate with immigration officials but failed.
Gobalakrishnan then boarded an AirAsia flight back to Kuala Lumpur at 9.50pm on the same day.
Yesterday an immigration spokesman said that the refusal of entry against the MP was a directive from the State Secretariat.
Although the Immigration Department had refused him entry by virtue of Section 66 (1) of the Immigration Act 1959, Gobalakrishnan claimed that the state could not simply use its autonomy on immigration on any MP.
He claimed that by virtue of Section 66 (1) (c), no member of any convention in the country should be prevented from entering Sarawak or even Sabah.
By ‘convention’, he meant any MP or state assemblymen in Malaysia because these are members of a ‘convention’ like parliament and state legislative assemblies.
“How can you kick parliament out? I am also sad with being denied entry because I could not spend Christmas Eve with my ‘adopted family’ at Rumah Jugah in Sungai Sut, Kapit and attend the wedding of a friend at the same area, apart from missing several events like a seminar for PKR supporters in Lubok Antu, a meeting with state PKR leaders in Kuching and Ngemah assemblyman Gabriel Adit’s open house,” the MP said.
He revealed that his ‘adopted father’ Jugah Lidi was not related to family members of the late Tun Jugah Barieng.
Gobalakrishnan said so far he was the first and only member of PKR who had been refused entry into the State. But he said he believed more Peninsular Malaysia-based MPs, particularly from PKR, would be banned from the state because of their choice or brand of politics.
“So far I am the only one from PKR who has been refused entry. The last politician denied entry was the then DAP secretary-general Lim Kit Siang (now DAP advisor) but that was in the early 1970s. I think there will be more who will be banned from the state,” he said.
PKR information chief Chua Tian Chong alias Tian Chua said he had nothing against Sarawak’s autonomy on immigration if it was to ensure that locals were gainfully employed.
The Batu MP said he would support such measure anytime.
“But I could not agree with the denial of entry of an MP just because he is from the opposition. How can that be when we are living in a democratic country? To target MPs just because they are from the opposition is an abuse of power,” he said.
A news portal Malaysiakini had been playing up the issue since Dec 24, the latest being a claim that Sarawak may use its immigration powers to deny entry to more Peninsular Malaysia-based politicians, including PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim “in the face of what is seen as growing local support for the opposition”.