Sarawak immigration shouldn’t have put my health in danger, says academic

Academic Wong Chin Huat says the Immigration Department officers had earlier on rejected a doctor’s suggestion for him to be hospitalised for treatment and observation.

PETALING JAYA: Academic Wong Chin Huat, who was barred from entering Sarawak, has called on the state immigration not to put anyone’s life in danger.

He said he was denied entry and received delayed hospitalisation after landing at the Kuching International Airport at 3.50pm yesterday.

Wong, in a statement, said he was in Sarawak to participate as a speaker, moderator and overall planner on delimitation of constituencies.

The event was co-organised by the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC), Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) and ENGAGE, an NGO for democracy and human rights, at Pullman Hotel, Kuching, today and to return to Kuala Lumpur the same day.

Wong said his headache become apparent at around 6pm after arriving at the Kuching airport.

“By 7pm, it had become unbearable. So, I asked for a check-up at 7.20pm.

“But my request to be examined and treated by a medical doctor was ignored by the Sarawak Immigration officers,” said Wong, adding that he was finally treated at 9.45pm after intervention from Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad.

“My blood pressure had shot up to 231/114 and 222/123 in the two readings subsequently measured by the doctor.

“Despite my acute condition, the Immigration Department officers rejected the doctor’s suggestion for me to be hospitalised for treatment and observation,” he said.

Public Works Minister Baru Bian then requested for a special pass for hospitalisation and the pass was finally issued at 11pm, and Wong was admitted to hospital at 11.30pm.

Wong said his condition improved after treatment by doctors and nurses and “my medical emergency has since eased”.

He said he fully supported Sarawak and Sabah’s internal immigration powers for the purpose of economic protectionism, until a better alternative is found.

However, he said such power must be exercised transparently, rationally and in good faith.

“The Sarawak state government should make public its considerations in denying entry to any person so that its rationale will be better appreciated.”

Wong also denied an earlier report in FMT, quoting sources, that he had refused medical attention. Wong said the source had told “utter lies”.

Meanwhile, Bersih 2.0 questioned if the Immigration Department would carry out its orders at all cost, even if human lives were at risk.

It cautioned civil servants to always uphold human values when following the directives of politicians.