Travel ban is unconstitutional and a blatant abuse of power
22 July 2015
Lawyers for Liberty is shocked and appalled that members of Parliament Tony Pua, Rafizi Ramli and The Edge Media Group owner Tong Kooi Ong have been barred from leaving the country. The immigration authorities stopped Tony Pua today at KLIA 2 airport while Rafizi Ramli and Tong Kooi Ong were reported barred according to checks with the Immigration Department’s website.
As no clear reasons were given for barring the trio from travelling out of the country or under what legal provisions the immigration authorities have acted upon, we can only assume that they have been targeted due to their criticisms and exposés concerning the massive 1MDB scandal that is currently engulfing the nation.
The authorities must be reminded that the Federal Constitution guarantees freedom of movement, limited only to the lawful and reasonable exercise of discretion for reasons of security, public order, public health and the punishment of offenders. Needless to say, these reasons are not applicable to any of them and the immigration authorities’ actions are clearly politically motivated, irrational and a blatant abuse of power.
We are further appalled that the authorities seem more concerned in investigating those who have leaked the 1MDB information or those who have made further use of the information rather than the extremely serious exposés themselves.
Investigating the whistleblowers or the press is clearly misconceived, a case of shooting the messenger bearing bad news. It should be noted that due to the 1MDB exposés, a few persons linked to the scandal have been arrested, which goes to show that the exposes are substantiated.
We call upon the authorities to lift the travel ban, cease investigations into the whistleblowers or the press, and more importantly, to bring to justice the perpetrators and account for the massive 1MDB scandal.
Lawyers for Liberty
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