PETALING JAYA: Another opposition party leader has joined the ranks of politicians banned from entering Sarawak.
This morning, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) deputy secretary-general Bawani S Kanniappan arrived in Kuching airport but was denied entry by the immigration authorities.
“Bawani arrived in Kuching at 11am this morning to attend her friend’s wedding tonight, but is being denied entry.
“She was stopped from entering Sarawak and is now being held at the airport immigration office,” PSM secretary-general Sivarajan said in a statement to the media.
According to him, Bawani was told that it was “arahan kerajaan negeri Sarawak sejak tahun 2016″ (order from the Sarawak government since 2016).
Sivarajan added that prior to leaving Kampar, Perak, Bawani had even confirmed her travel status at the Ipoh immigration office and was informed that there was no travel ban imposed on her by the immigration department.
“But now she is being held at the Kuching airport immigration office and they have informed her that she will be deported back to KLIA.
“The immigration officers also refused her request to make a police report and demanded that she pay for her flight ticket back,” Sivarajan said.
Last year, a number of DAP and PKR leaders were barred from entering the state. Among them were PKR lawmakers Nurul Izzah Anwar, Rafizi Ramli, Tian Chua and Sim Tze Tzin as well as DAP’s Teresa Kok, Tony Pua and Teo Nie Ching.
Sarawak and Sabah have autonomy over immigration and are empowered to keep out individuals they deem undesirable. This discretion has been seen to be largely used against leaders of federal opposition parties.
A few months ago, Sarawak said it had also placed Islamic preacher, Zakir Naik, on the ban list.