Court orders release of brothers detained despite PR status

Zulfikar and Zukifli Karis with their uncle and aunt outside the courtroom today.

GEORGE TOWN: The High Court here today ordered the release of two Malaysian-born Indonesians who spent eight months in detention at an immigration depot despite holding permanent resident status.

Brothers Zulkifli and Zulfikar Karis, aged 27 and 28, were initially detained to assist in investigations into a scheme for the sale of MyKads.

The odd-job workers were detained at the National Registration Department (JPN) office at Anson Road here on Oct 2 last year.

They told police at the time that they were at the JPN office to submit documents for their citizenship application.

They were made state witnesses in the case after they revealed in questioning that they were customers of the racket in question. However, they were not charged with any crime.

They were sent to the Juru immigration depot on Nov 20 pending deportation to Bintan, Indonesia.

Lawyer RSN Rayer filed a habeas corpus application on behalf of their family on Jan 23.

Justice Akhtar Tahir who ordered their release today said the brothers were born in Malaysia and had their MyKads with them at the time of their arrest.

He said their MyKads and birth certificates showing that they were born at the Bukit Mertajam hospital were not the subject of dispute by any party.

He added that no affidavits were tendered showing that they had lived in the country illegally or flouted immigration laws.

Likewise, he said they had never been charged with a crime which could be used as grounds for their deportation.

Rayer appeared for the brothers while deputy public prosecutor Norliza Abd Aziz prosecuted.

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