Don who won a no-fly legal suit hopes to work with peers in the States

  • Nation
  • Friday, 17 Jan 2014

Prof Rahinah: If I didn’t pursue my case, I would not be effective in delivering the knowledge I gained.

PETALING JAYA: Prof Rahinah Ibrahim plans to up her academic work in the United States now that the euphoria of winning a landmark suit to strike her name off its no-fly list has tapered down.

Saying that having her name on the list had proven to be a great hindrance to travelling for her academic work, Prof Rahinah added that she would like to continue her academic activities with her peers in the US.

“It was not good for research, for attending conferences, for securing research grants. And we’re doing something for knowledge contribution here,” she said, citing its detrimental effect in slowing her down compared to other researchers.

Prof Rahinah, who is Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Faculty of Design and Architecture dean, is looking forward to working on the innovation and commercialisation of Malaysia’s local inventions.

US judge William Alsup on Tuesday sided with Prof Rahinah in her challenge against the US federal government’s no-fly policy, and ruled that existing procedures to correct mistakes on that list do not provide adequate due process protection.

Her ordeal began on Jan 2, 2005, when she was detained for two hours at San Francisco’s airport because the authorities believed she was on the no-fly list.

Though she was allowed to return to Malaysia, her US visa was later revoked and she was not allowed to travel back to the country.

Prof Rahinah added in a statement that she could now be actively involved in more collaborations between Malaysian and American scientists and academicians.

“I hope UPM can play a significant role in establishing significant collaborative work in R&D and Innovation and Commercialisation, with Stanford University’s researchers especially,” she said.

Prof Rahinah also hopes to see some of her own patented inventions commercialised by Silicon Valley investors.

Apart from the tremendous support and effort from her legal team, supporters in the US, and many other parties including UPM’s vice chancellors, what kept her going was a sense of responsibility to fellow Malaysians.

“To know that I had gone to Stanford University using Malaysian taxpayers’ funds, and if I didn’t pursue my case, I would not be effective in delivering the knowledge I gained,” she added.

She revealed that it was her husband who broke the good news to her on Wednesday morning, before she received official news from her lawyers in San Francisco, adding that she hoped the ruling could assist other innocent persons facing similar challenges.

“I pray that it can help them prevail,” she added.

Asked if she already has plans to travel to the US, Prof Rahinah said she “would love to fly back, but not so soon”.

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