PETALING JAYA: The deportation of 1,086 Myanmar nationals by the Immigration Department despite a court order to stay their repatriation until yesterday morning has drawn the ire of civil society groups, with many questioning whether such a move is akin to contempt of court.
When contacted, Immigration Department director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud (pic) declined to comment, saying that he had issued a statement on Tuesday.
In his statement on Tuesday, Khairul said that a total of 1,086 Myanmar nationals were deported with the cooperation of the Malaysian Armed Forces and the Myanmar Embassy.
Khairul said those who were deported were Myanmar nationals and they were not of Rohingya descent or asylum seekers.
The stay order was to allow for a hearing of a judicial review application yesterday morning following a legal challenge made by two human rights groups, Amnesty International and Asylum Access.
The deportation plans came about after the Myanmar military seized power in a coup on Feb 1 and offered to send three navy ships to pick up its citizens at Malaysian immigration detention centres.
A coalition of NGOs, which includes the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), North South Initiative, G25, the Women’s Aid Organisation, Centre for Orang Asli’s Concerns, issued a joint statement yesterday condemning the deportation of the Myanmar nationals.
Noting that the deportation of the Myanmar nationals contravenes international human rights and humanitarian laws, the group claimed the Immigration Department’s insistence on repatriating the Myanmar nationals despite the court order can be seen as contempt towards the court.
Human Rights Watch’s Asia legal adviser Linda Lakhdhir said the government must investigate the Immigration Department’s deportation of the 1,086 Myanmar nationals.