KUCHING: Stampin MP Julian Tan has come forward, after a video went viral on social media, to explain his behaviour on April 8 at the immigration section of Kuching International Airport (KIA) The MP appeared in the video to be upset with KIA police on the case of designer Ooi Leng Hang, who came up with the DAP mascot “Ubah”.
Ooi and Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching were denied entry to Kuching and put on the next flight back to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), their earlier port of call.
The video shows Tan apparently “provoking” the police officers. He appeared to be complaining that the officers seemed not to comprehend his duties as the people’s representative, as Stampin MP.
Tan, in a statement, stressed that it was never his intention or that of his colleagues to be rude to the police officers on duty. He believes that the footage of the video, taken by an unknown person, was taken out of context and posted with the intention to “demonize” him.
He conceded that he was frustrated when Immigration officers did not come out of their office and listen to him and/or offer any explanation on Ooi being denied entry. “We were called to the airport in response to the barring of Ooi Leng Han by the Immigration Department from entering Sarawak. We were looking for an official response as to why Ooi was barred.”
“The incident happened as a result of our frustrations when being asked to wait for a very long time and after being pushed between two different places including the entrance of the gate and the Security Office.”
He added that they were made to wait for a long time but yet the Immigration officers concerned refused to come out and meet them despite the fact that they initially said that they would. “It was out of that frustration that we spoke to the police officer (in the video) on top of our initial frustrations due to the abuse of Immigration Rights by the state government who has barred so many other citizens from the state.”
On top of that, he continued, the officers concerned claimed that there was no direct phone line to contact the Immigration officers, and that added to the frustration. “How can they claim that there is no airport direct line to connect to the Immigration Office?”
“We had no intention to be rude to the particular police officer, but it was out of frustration towards the Immigration’s handing of the whole issue. If they could treat an elected representative this way, what more can they do to other citizens?”
If this is the attitude that citizens have to deal with and be pushed around without giving a proper response, he argued, “we must make a stand against it and cannot condone such action.”
“The Immigration officers just hid behind their counters and refused to come out and give us a simple explanation.”
He estimates that he was at the Airport for more than two hours and yet no Immigration officer came out to meet him. “In the end, we thanked the police officers in charge for carrying out their duties with great professionalism even under the difficult circumstances caused by the Immigration Department.
The MP assured that he had no intention to breach restricted areas and did in fact request repeatedly for a pass to be given. He offered, according to the statement, to meet the immigration officers in a common area or talk to them via the telephone.