Sarawak’s immigration law is absolute, says don


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  • Tuesday, 12 Apr 2016

KUCHING: The state government does not have to provide reasons for using Sarawak’s immigration power over entry into the state, says an academic.

Ohio University visiting professor of political science Dr Jayum Jawan said Sarawak’s use of the immigration law was “absolute” and had always been upheld by the court whenever challenged.

“The government of the day that exercises its right to do so should not have to provide reasons for its action. It would be akin to telling your potential visitors why you are not receiving their visit. Does a host need to explain if they refuse to accept visitation?” he said in a statement.

Jayum was responding to the arguments by some academics that Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem could boost his image in the coming state election if he lifted the entry ban on opposition leaders and public figures deemed to be extremist.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Assoc Prof Dr Jeniri Amir had told a seminar on the election that although Sarawak had the right to stop “extreme fanatics” from entering, the state government seemed to have “abused” its power.

“Are the opposition leaders extremists? Are (DAP lawmakers) Teresa Kok, Tony Pua and (PKR MP) Zuraida Kamaruddin extremists?

“There is nothing to be afraid of. (If he lifts the ban), it will be good for his image,” he said.

However, Jayum said the argument was “unsustainable” because the image of a state leader did not depend on the endorsement of outsiders.

“Leaders of Sarawak must appeal to the people of Sarawak and not be based on support of those from outside the state.

“The argument is (also) archaic because in the present era of technological revolution that has made borders permeable, physical presence is no longer necessary,” he said.

Jayum also said Sarawakians who wanted to present an alternative to the present ruling coalition should put up their own fight.

“They must bring their own stories, instead of relying on outsiders to help them paint national and peninsular pictures that may not have direct relevance to the issues, struggles and problems at home.

“They would not want to be called puppets and having their strings pulled by others, as they have eloquently argued that the present coalition is being so choreographed,” he added.


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