While Lim alleged that he was stopped due to a travel restriction imposed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), its chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki has denied that this was the case.
Caretaker Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the state government had the constitutional right to allow any individual to enter Sabah, adding that it had never barred any individual from the state, aside from those who could potentially cause unrest.
“I was also made to understand that Lim might have been informed not to exit Sabah and go abroad.
“But this is something that must be coordinated with the state government.
“The Sabah government has powers, not in terms of law, but in terms of the constitution.
“The right is vested in the state government,” he said in a press conference after an event in Kota Belud yesterday.
Shafie also said that travel restrictions should not be imposed on only one person with an ongoing graft case.
“If all MACC cases, then (Datuk Seri) Najib Razak should be barred. All the other leaders should also be barred.
“Don’t impose this rule on only one person. Impose it on everyone.
“Tian Chua, Nurul Izzah Anwar, Teresa Kok and several others were barred from the state initially. But two days after I took over as chief minister, I exempted them from the restriction,” he said.
Meanwhile, Azam said the commission has never barred Lim from travelling to any state in the country, adding that there may have been a mistake.
“MACC only applied to impose restrictions on Lim from going abroad,” he told reporters after launching an anti-corruption programme in Melaka.
Lim said he was temporarily barred from entering Sabah when he flew to Kota Kinabalu airport on a night flight. He claimed he was approached by state Immigration officers at the airport and was told that the MACC had imposed a travel restriction on him from entering Sabah. After waiting for half an hour, Lim said he was allowed to enter.
Lim is facing three charges of corruption and abuse of power over the controversial Penang undersea tunnel project.
Sabah Immigration director Datuk Dr Muhamad Sade Mohamad Amin could not be reached for comment.