Gloomy prospects for Zunar after court ruling on travel ban

ZunarPETALING JAYA: Political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque is now pessimistic over the outcome of his attempt to challenge a travel ban on him, following the Court of Appeal’s ruling today that the government has absolute discretion on the right of a Malaysian to travel overseas.

“It will be difficult for me because in normal practice, the High Court will follow the decision by the Court of Appeal,” said Zulkiflee, popularly known as Zunar.

“Nevertheless, I will keep fighting, fighting and fighting to get back my right to freedom of movement.”

Justice Idrus Harun, in a unanimous decision delivered today, said Article 5 of the Federal Constitution on the right to liberty excluded the right to travel abroad.

“The provision on the right to travel overseas is not expressly embodied in Article 5,” he said in dismissing an appeal by Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua.

Pua had challenged the authorities after he was stopped at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 from boarding a flight to Indonesia on July 2, 2015.

Idrus said under Article 5 and the Immigration Act, Pua had no right to be heard and the immigration director-general had no duty to give reason to impose the travel ban.

“The appellant has failed to show any merit in his case and we have no reason to interfere in the findings of the High Court,” he said.

Zunar today said freedom of movement was a fundamental right guaranteed under Articles 5, 8 and 9 of the Federal Constitution.

“Fundamental is a hard fact, it is not open to interpretation. It is also stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations.

“I do not know why judges choose grey when black and white is right in front of them,” he said.

The controversial cartoonist, who is no stranger to getting into trouble with the authorities over his satirical works mocking government leaders and top law enforcers, has been under a travel ban since June last year.

He also faces nine sedition charges for insulting the judiciary in tweets regarding former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy conviction in February 2015.