DAP tells Sabah government to stop abusing immigration laws

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KOTA KINABALU: Sabah DAP has reminded the state government not to abuse Sabah’s immigration laws by barring political opponents from entry.

Speaking to FMT, Sabah DAP chairman Stephen Wong weighed in on reports that a couple who were told to leave Sabah over their begging antics were allowed back into the state in less than 24 hours.

Wong said: “We fully support the retention of Sabah’s autonomy in relation to matters such as immigration laws and the powers which come with it, but it shouldn’t be used against political opponents.

“I can understand if we use the laws to bar terrorists or criminals from coming into the state, but we must be fair and we shouldn’t simply bar people, more so elected representatives.”

Earlier today, the Daily Express reported that the 56-year-old Jordanian man and his 48-year-old local wife were spotted at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport on Monday night, less than a day after they were sent back to Kuala Lumpur on a one-way ticket.

According to the report, Kota Kinabalu police chief ACP M Chandra said background checks showed the couple were “clean”, save for their antics of gaining sympathy from the public, and that they had flight tickets for Cambodia on July 15.

“Hence, they will be here for another month. We cannot stop them from entering because it is a free country but we don’t want them causing further inconvenience to the community,” he was quoted as saying.

Wong said he agreed with Chandra that this was a free country and that people who didn’t pose a threat to Sabahans shouldn’t be barred from entering the state.

But he pointed out that the Sabah government had in the past barred a number of Pakatan Harapan leaders and civil society activists from entering the state – including elected representatives such as PKR’s Rafizi Ramli, DAP’s Tony Pua and Teresa Kok, and former Bersih 2.0 chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan.

Pua was one of the most recent to be barred, having been denied entry on April 28 while on his way to attend a 1MDB forum. He had been in Sabah in March to attend a series of party events.

Like Sabah, Sarawak also has the right to bar non-Sarawakians from entering the state, and in the run-up to the state election last year, it barred a number of opposition, civil society and NGO members including Sungai Besar Umno division chief and Red Shirts leader, Jamal Yunos.

Recently, The Star Online reported that the Jordanian man and his wife were asked to leave Sabah after police received numerous complaints about them.

According to the police, the couple, who used various ploys to gain people’s sympathy, had arrived in Sabah on May 13.

Their passports reportedly showed that they had travelled to many countries before this.

Couple who posted begging antics on Facebook told to leave Sabah

DAP’s Tony Pua barred from entering Sabah