The Malaysian Insider
22 July 2015
Putrajaya’s move to prevent two lawmakers and a media owner from leaving the country is politically motivated, legal rights advocacy group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) said today.
Its executive director, Eric Paulsen, said barring opposition MPs Tony Pua and Rafizi Ramli, as well as The Edge Media Group owner Datuk Tong Kooi Ong, from leaving the country was likely due to their criticism and exposes on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Paulsen said the authorities should remember that freedom of movement was guaranteed under the federal constitution.
Freedom of movement was also subject to security, public order, public health and the punishment of offenders, but Paulsen said these reasons were not applicable to the trio who are barred from leaving Malaysia.
“These reasons are not applicable to any of them and the immigration authorities’ actions are clearly politically motivated, irrational and a blatant abuse of power,” he said in a statement.
” As no clear reasons were given for barring the trio from travelling out of the country or under what legal provisions the immigration authorities have acted upon, we can only assume that they have been targeted due to their criticisms and exposes concerning the massive 1MDB scandal,” Paulsen said.
The immigration authorities stopped Pua today at klia2 airport, while Rafizi believes he has been barred after a check on the Immigration Department’s website.
Tong is said to have been barred also, after Malaysiakini checked his travel status with the department’s website.
Paulsen said it was appalling that he authorities were more concerned about probing information leaks into 1MDB rather than the alleged wrongdoing revealed by the information itself.
“Investigating the whistle-blowers or the press is clearly misconceived. It is a case of shooting the messenger bearing bad news,” he said.
“We call upon the authorities to lift the travel ban, cease investigations into the whistleblowers or the press, and more importantly, bring to justice the perpetrators and account for the massive 1MDB scandal,” he added.
Pua, who is Petaling Jaya MP, was due to fly to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, for work when he was stopped Immigration officers at low-cost carrier terminal klia2 at 3.15pm today.
“They stopped me and told me I can’t go aboard. They said the instructions came ‘from above’. No reasons were given why I was prevented from leaving,” he said earlier.
One of 1MDB’s staunchest critics, the DAP national publicity chief had been among those who has consistently highlighted alleged malpractices in the state investment vehicle’s operations and dealings.
Pua is also being sued by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who has accused the DAP MP of incessantly attacking him over the Finance ministry-owned fund to gain political mileage for the opposition. – July 22, 2015.