KUCHING: PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar is the latest Opposition politician to be barred from entering Sarawak.
Arriving at the Kuching InterÂnational Airport at 4pm yesterday, immigration officers served Nurul a â€œNotice of Refusal of Entryâ€ under Section 65(1)(a) of the Immigration Act 1959/63.
This is the same law that was used to deny PKRâ€™s Rafizi Ramli and Tian Chua, DAPâ€™s Teresa Kok, as well as Sarawak Report founder Clare Rewcastle Brown and others into the state in the past.
â€œThe Act was meant to prevent the mass migration of peninsula Malaysians into Sarawak and Sabah â€“ and not to bar entry to MPs, who are here to carry out democratic duties,â€ Nurul said in a statement yesterday.
Denying entry had prevented her from carrying out her duties as an MP, she claimed.
â€œGod willing, I will return to Sarawak,â€ she added.
Nurul is also the head of PKRâ€™s election machinery.
She was scheduled to announce yesterday several of the partyâ€™s candidates for the next Sarawak election.
The second-term Lembah Pantai MP was travelling with an assistant and Seri Andalas assemblyman Dr Xavier Jayakumar.
They were due to return to Kuala Lumpur on the 10pm flight.
Dr Xavier claimed immigration officers said the ban came directly from Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
â€œThey (officers) said the orders came from the CM office. The CM should have been brave enough to have open and fair elections,â€ Dr Xavier told reporters at the airport.
â€œDonâ€™t bar MPs. This is bad for democracy.â€
Sarawak PKR vice-chief See Chee How said Adenan was resorting to â€œthe same ways of the old administrationâ€.
â€œWhile I do agree with the state having immigration autonomy, it should not be exercised arbitrarily,â€ See said.
â€œNot for abuse to bar political leaders.â€
See said Nurulâ€™s popularity with the youths would have been a â€œbig helpâ€ to PKR candidates.
Sarawakâ€™s election is due middle of next year.