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Friday, May 31, 2013

Bar associations tell Sabah to lift entry bans, say violates constitutional freedom


KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 — Malaysia’s three professional bodies for lawyers condemned today the Sabah government for ejecting PKR’s Nurul Izzah Anwar from holidaying in the north Borneo state, saying the move violated her constitutional right to freedom of movement.
The authorities’ action denying the 32-year-old lawmaker entry into the state and flying her back to the peninsula immediately upon her arrival yesterday evening has provoked widespread uproar, with the Sabah Law Association, the Advocates’ Association of Sarawak and the Malaysian Bar telling the government to “cease and desist” its arbitrary blasting of Malaysians without good reason.
“By deploying this drastic measure, the Sabah state government is flouting the guarantee of freedom of movement that is enshrined in Article 9 of the Federal Constitution, which provides that ‘every citizen has the right to move freely throughout the Federation’.
“The three Bars of Malaysia call on the Sabah state government to immediately rescind the entry ban that it has imposed, and to cease and desist from resorting to such action without any justifiable cause,” the three groups said in a joint statement.
They reminded the state government that while it had a statutory right to decide who enters Sabah, it should be sparing in flexing its muscle and ban only with justifiable cause.
They also called on Putrajaya to take concrete measures to safeguard the right of Malaysians to travel within the country’s borders unimpeded.
Nurul Izzah has vowed to take her entry ban into Sabah to court, slamming the government’s move as undemocratic and an abuse of the state’s laws.
She had intended to attend a party event as well as celebrate the native Pesta Kaamatan, or the Harvest Festival, there in her personal capacity.
Sabah’s consitution empowers its chief minister to restrict anyone from entering the state, but adds that he must do justify a reason.
“As a member of the Malaysian Parliament, the move to bar my entry is irrational and without reasonable justification is clearly an extreme abuse of power and very anti-democratic,” she told a press conference in PKR’s headquarters in Petaling Jaya this afternoon.
“If I am a threat to the people of Sabah, then give me the rationale and explanation to this accusation,” she added.
The second-term Lembah Pantai MP also claimed that a number of opposition leaders, including her father Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who is the PKR advisor, and activists have also been named in a blacklist she claimed to originate from Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman’s office.
Nurul Izzah said the state authorities had rejected her demand to see the full list and gave no explanation as to why she had been denied entry.
Last April, PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang was similarly barred from entering Sabah.

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