KUCHING: Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg says he is unaware that Keningau MP Jeffrey Kitingan has been denied entry to the state for the second time.
“I’m unaware of this. I will check on it,” he said when met after the launch of the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) new year and 65th anniversary celebrations last night.
It was reported that the state government had rejected Jeffrey’s application for a special entry pass to chair the Dayak International Organisation meeting in Kuching yesterday afternoon.
The Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president was also supposed to take part in a forum organised by the Movement for Change Sarawak (MoCS) this afternoon.
Jeffrey said although he respected the immigration powers vested in Sarawak, he was disappointed with Abang Johari, who had been talking about Sabah and Sarawak rights even before he became the chief minister.
“I never had this problem with previous Sarawak chief ministers, namely Taib Mahmud and the late Adenan Satem,” he said.
A spokesman for Dayak Right Action Force (DRAF), Bobby William, also questioned Kuching’s move in preventing Jeffrey from entering the state.
“What is the motive? The Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government should be more open towards those who come from Borneo island.
“Jeffrey is coming to Sarawak as the voice of the Borneo Dayaks. He’s not a terrorist. It is baseless for the Sarawak government to bar him.
“Sarawak may be proud of its immigration autonomy but it should not be abused,” he said.
He said the state government should instead ban Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders who had spoken ill of Sarawak and its people.
Reports said Jeffrey had been barred from Sarawak since February 2017. He found this out a month later when he tried to enter the state to chair a meeting of the Borneo Dayak Forum.
However, in September last year, he was allowed entry for three days to attend a meeting with Abang Johari, during which they discussed issues pertaining to the rights of Sabah and Sarawak.