The recent ban by Sabah immigration authorities of Nurul Izzah Anwar's entry into Sabah not only drew bipartisan criticisms, but had also propelled our country to some degree of notoriety. No country that professed democracy has ever had the cause to ban its citizens from entering into another state which is part of the country's autonomy.
However, what makes the whole episode a mockery is that Nurul Izzah was not a normal persona non grata felon, but an elected member of Parliament in one of the Federal Territories.
What makes it even more interesting was the statement by newly-minted Tourism Minister Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, who went on to justfy the ban as something “based on the provisions of the law for the safety of Sabahans”.
Safety of Sabahans? Safety from whom? Did Nurul Izzah’s visit posed a threat to the security and safety of Sabahans? What kind of rubbish is this idiotic minister trying to say? If Nurul Izzah was indeed a security threat, then it was incumbent of the home minister to arrest Nurul Izzah and charge her for any impending threats that she may posed.
This kind of foolish reason offered by a member of the cabinet is pure fabrication and fiction done with the intention of blemishing the opposition's reputation. Even maverick BN politician from Kinabatangan, Bung Mokhtar, tweeted that the move had been “a mistake and a disaster”.
According to the Sabah immigration authorities, the ban was under the order of state Chief Minister Musa Aman, who later denied that the ban had been politically motivated. If it was not politically motivated, then what was it that had led to Nurul Izzah’s ban?
Furthermore, the immigration authorities come under the Home Ministry, which is a federal authority. So how could Musa intervene to order the Immigration authority to ban Nurul Izzah? Unless of course, this was done with the tacit approval of the Home Ministry which gave its official the green light to effect Musa's order for the ban. The ban has raised many questions as to the legitimacy of such a ban on its citizens in the absence of any valid reason.
In addition, does the chief minister have the authority to order a federal agency to carry out an order which does not come under its jurisdiction? The fact that Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has chosen to remain silent when its authority and jurisdiction have been encroached by the state government only raised further suspicions that there was a covert conspiracy to ban Nurul Izzah from the beginning.
Pakatan MPs must debate this issue with the government once and for all to correct this anomaly. Such ridiculous situations have been allowed to fester for so long, and Sarawak has also been one of the culprits exercising such unreasonable bans on Malaysian citizens.
Malaysians deserve the right to know the legality of such frivolous actions by the whims and fancies of chief ministers who view their state as if it is their own private domain.