Bersih 2.0 leader Maria Chin Abdullah was held up again yesterday by airport authorities, this time by Sabah immigration officials who stopped to question her at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) after claiming that she had been “blacklisted” for unexplained reasons.
Maria Chin said several immigration officials approached her after she touched down in the airport at about 7.30pm last night before escorting her to a holding room and questioning her for some 20 minutes.
“When I asked why they were detaining me, one official said it was because I am not Sabahan,” she told
“The official later told me that my name has been blacklisted and that I should know why I was being held,” she added.
After the interrogation, Maria Chin said her personal details were recorded before she was allowed to leave.
But she complained that as she was leaving the airport in a taxi, several individuals she claimed were likely Special Branch officers were seen snapping her photographs.
“I hope they stop this harassment. This is not the first time we experienced this,” Maria Chin said, adding that she has since written to the Home Ministry and Immigration Department on the matter.
This is the second time that Maria Chin has had a small run-in with the local immigration authorities at the airport. The first was last September when she was about to fly to Nepal.
Last month, another Bersih leader, Sabahan Ahmad Syukri Che Ab Razab, was barred from entering his home state despite having a scheduled workshop to conduct and forced on the next flight out of KKIA.
Others from the electoral reforms group who have faced harassment by the immigration officials, include co-chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan, Andrew Khoo, Wong Chin Huat, Yeo Yang Poh, Datuk Dr Toh Kin Woon, and K. Arumugam.
Fed up with the frequent airport checks, the group issued an official press statement last month urging the authorities to stop passing the buck and put an end to what it says is persistent and unjustified harassment that violates constitutional rights.
In an open letter to Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar and Immigration director-general Datuk Alias Ahmad, the 21-man Bersih group demanded both officials explain to the immigration officers who have in recent weeks in singled out its committee members, including co-chairman Ambiga, who were held up for unnecessary checks before being allowed to board their flight or continue their journey.
“Such heavy-handed and senseless actions by the authorities in prohibiting or restricting the freedom of movement of its own citizens, which freedom is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution, must not be allowed to continue.
“None of the individuals involved has received any acceptable explanation for these harassments,” the group had said.
Bersih 2.0 appears to have come under increasing heat from the government and its agencies following the April 28 mammoth rally that saw thousands thronging the streets in the national capital demanding the electoral roll be cleaned up and other similar reforms ahead of polls.
Since Election 2008, Bersih had held two public rallies that made international headlines and drawn the spotlight to the government.
In May, the Najib administration took the unprecedented step of suing Ambiga and nine other Bersih steering committee members, as the rally organisers, for damages worth RM122,000.
If they want to stop all non-Sabahans from entering Sabah, they should start with UMNO, or illegal foreigners (which is kinda the same thing).
Is this what law enforcement are meant to do? Harass people who are not in the same political mindset as their political masters?
Why don't you go prevent some break-ins or snatch thieves? Make our lives better not worse. Idiots.
Looks like Malaysians cannot even travel within Malaysia from state to state. Perhaps it is time for Sarawak and Sabah to break away from Malaysia. At least, then this blacklisting of Malaysians will make sense!
The Filipino, the Indon can just cruise into Sabah without any proper documentation and yet our very own Malaysian citizen was harassed by the immigration officers whom were supposed to safeguard our country sovereignty not bullying our own people.
Taxpayers money used to employ people to harass the government's political foes. Please, if you want to know what they are doing, just follow them on twitter or facebook, don't waste time and money on nonsense like this.