COMMENT Sarawak caretaker Chief Minister Adenan Satem’s statement yesterday that he needs to “protect the interest of Sarawak from unsavoury elements, whether political or otherwise” by banning opposition MPs and leaders from entering Sarawak, and that opposition leaders can enter Sarawak right after the state election, is a clear sign that Adenan is facing an unprecedented battle against the opposition this time.
It is also a blessing in disguise that the people of Malaysia and particularly Sarawakians can see for themselves the true face of Adenan.
Adenan tries to confuse the people by abusing the term ‘Sarawak’s autonomy’ when what he is doing is unrelated to Sarawak’s autonomy. The DAP, be it DAP Malaysia or Sarawak DAP, has never raised a question on Sarawak’s autonomy. In fact, Sarawak DAP is at the forefront in advocating the rights and interest of Sarawakians, well-enshrined under the federal constitution but neglected by Barisan Nasional governments (both federal and state) for decades.
Sarawak’s immigration autonomy was supposedly designed in the interests of the Sarawakians and Sabahans, to protect youths of East Malaysia from being swamped and displaced by hordes of West Malaysian unemployed.
However, Adenan is using it as a political sledgehammer to ban prominent opposition members from entering the state of Sarawak. This is clearly an abuse of power which is aimed at curbing the opposition’s right to exercise legitimate political activity in Sarawak.
Under Section 66 of the Immigration Act 1959/63, there are provisions to deny entry to citizens based on certain criteria. However, the enforcement of the Act lies solely on the East Malaysian immigration authorities who have the right to grant or deny permits to individuals entering Sarawak.
Ultimately the list of banned individuals is decided by Adenan himself, even though Section 67 of the Immigration Act 1963 allows citizens to enter East Malaysia to exercise their legitimate political rights without being subject to Subsection 66.
This blatant disregard for the rule of law is proof that the BN government in Sarawak is getting increasingly desperate to preserve its grip on power. The most disgraceful thing the BN government in Sarawak has done is to deny individuals the right to exercise their political rights in the name of immigration autonomy.
This excuse is to hide their fear of possibly losing power in Sarawak. Traditionally Sarawak has been a BN stronghold, but it has become increasingly clear that the people of Sarawak are sick of bad governance and empty promises made by the BN dominated state legislative assembly.
If Adenan were to “protect the interests of Sarawak”, then questions must be asked on what are the interests of Sarawak that are eroded and needed to be protected?
Is it not true that the interest of Sarawakians include their rights to free and fair election, right to deserve a clean and competent government, right to be treated with dignity without suppression and discrimination etc?
If opposition MPs and leaders are threatening these very fundamental rights of Sarawakians, then why does the ban is only limited for a certain period? Surely it must have lasted until the threat no longer exists when the opposition parties are disbanded!
It is not the “same old and recycled story” because you are worse than your predecessor.
LAU WENG SAN is DAP assemblyperson for Kampung Tunku.