Is denial of entry of Suaram executive director into Sarawak ominous sign of a possible general rollback of human rights under a new Prime Minister in the months to come
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The Sarawak State Government has violated the fundamental human rights of Malaysians for freedom of movement in one’s own country when it instructed the Sarawak immigration authorities to deny entry by SUARAM Executive Director, Ms. Cynthia Gabriel yesterday.
Cynthia arrived in Sarawak at the Miri Airport at about 9.15 p.m. last night to attend a workshop titled "Workshop on Globalisation and its Impacts on Indigenous Peoples in Malaysia" but was told by the Sarawak Immigration authorities at the airport t that she was a persona non grata and denied entry although no official reasons were given as to why she is on the Immigration blacklist.
The immigration officers held her passport and she was flown out of Miri to KLIA on the first flight this morning.
The action by the Immigration Department and the Sarawwak State Government in denying Cynthia her right to attend an important programme in Sarawak is a serious violation of her Malaysian citizenship right as well as a grave breach of fundamental human rights such as Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that everyone has the rights and freedom of movement within the borders of each state as well as the freedom to leave and return to a country.
It is a matter of grave concern that such violation of fundamental human rights is being carried out so blatantly and flagrantly, especially at a period of transition of the top leadership post in the country when Malaysians are looking for clues as to what a new Prime Minister in the person of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has in store for Malaysians, particularly on the important issues of democracy and human rights.
Is Cynthia’s denial of entry into Sarawak an ominous sign that far from general improvement in human rights, a general rollback of the already very truncated and limited human rights in the country in the months to come are distinctly on the cards? DAP calls on Abdullah to intervene and to restore to Cynthia both her citizenship and fundamental human rights to freedom of travel in her own country.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman