Lawyers for Liberty have issued a couple of statements in the case of the Bangladeshi who was interviewed in the controversial Al Jazeera report on migrant workers in Malaysia.
13 July: Work permit of Bangladeshi man interviewed by Al Jazeera unlawfully revoked
Lawers for Liberty view with grave concern the revelation on 12 July by the inspector general of police that the Immigration Department has revoked the work permit of the Bangladeshi man interviewed by Al Jazeera in the highly controversial documentary Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown.
The extent the authorities are willing to go to hunt down one man for merely speaking up on his experience of injustice to the media is alarming. Through no fault of his own, the man has now been rendered undocumented by the authorities.
The revocation of the Bangladeshi man’s permit is a blatant abuse of power and flouting of the law by the Immigration Department. Section 9(1)(c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 only allows the director general of Immigration to cancel a permit if it is prejudicial to public order, public security, public health or morality in Malaysia.
It is inconceivable that the mere action of highlighting his plight to the media would fall under any of the categories listed under Section 9(1)(c). It seems as if the Immigration Department is trying to legitimise the witch-hunt on this man for daring to speak out against it. This act only serves to strengthen the allegation that migrants are being unfairly treated and targeted by the authorities.
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The illegitimate manhunt and persecution of this innocent man must not be allowed to continue. We demand the authorities to immediately halt its unjustified and unlawful pursuit of this man and strongly urge the government to immediately step in and stop this clear abuse of power by the authorities.
27 July: Authorities must stop unlawful harassment of Md Rayhan Kabir
We view with grave concern the arrest of Bangladeshi national, Md Rayhan Kabir by the Immigration Department which was confirmed by the authorities on 25 July 2020.
Soon after his arrest, the director general of Immigration, Khairul Dzaimee Daud, stated that Rayhan will be deported and blacklisted from entering Malaysia forever.
Such drastic measures by the authorities are unwarranted as they have thus far failed to explain what offence Rayhan has committed. Clearly, the action by the authorities is a form of retaliation over the allegations of discrimination made by Rayhan in the Al Jazeera documentary.
We have scrutinised the statement made by Rayhan in the documentary and firmly restate that he has not said anything even remotely in breach of the country’s laws.
Rayhan was only venting his frustrations and concerns regarding the crackdown by the authorities on the migrant community during the movement control order. Similar complaints have been made by local activists and NGOs. There is no justifiable reason why the authorities must resort to such punitive measures against Rayhan for his statements.
We reiterate that the revocation of Rayhan’s permit is in breach of Section 9(1)(c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 and his deportation for being undocumented thus cannot stand.
The persecution of Rayhan sends a chilling message to migrants to not speak out or report abuse by the authorities, lest they suffer the same fate. We must not allow the authorities to act in flagrant disregard of the law. We urgently call on the government and the authorities to halt all actions against Rayhan.
Zaid Malek is coordinator of Lawyers for Liberty