The travel ban is in flagrant violation of the constitutional rights of personal liberty, movement and equality, says Robyn Choi.
On 15 May 2016, Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah was prevented from boarding a plane to Korea to receive a human rights award.
No reasons were given for this refusal. Nor was she given the right to contest the order. Even more disturbing is the news report of 16 May 2016 that reported Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed as saying that the government need not give any reasons in this instance.
Hakam, the National Human Rights Society, condemns this arbitrary act by the authorities to restrict the right of a citizen holding a valid passport and who has not been shown to be guilty of any act to be prevented from travelling abroad.
This is a violation of the rule of law and the rights guaranteed by the federal constitution – which includes freedom of movement accorded to all citizens unless for a cause that can be justifiably established. Even a bankrupt whose passport is impounded can apply to have his or her document returned to enable travel abroad in certain situations.
In this case, she was flatly refused the right to travel without any reasons. This is a dangerous exercise of power to ban a citizen from travelling without even attempting to offer any valid explanation.
It is in flagrant violation of the constitutional rights of personal liberty, movement and equality.
Hakam notes with alarm the increasing use of powers reminiscent of the caprice of absolute dictators to trample willy-nilly on fundamental constitutional rights.
Hakam demands that this continual spate of the use of arbitrary powers against the Malaysian citizenry cease immediately.
Robyn Choi is secretary general of Hakam. This statement was issued on behalf of the Hakam executive committee.