Malaysian government bans its critics from traveling abroad
MALAYSIANS who criticize the government can be barred from going overseas and those denouncing the administration from abroad can be stopped from travelling again for three years upon their return, it was revealed today.
The Immigration Department said the ruling was enforced several months ago in a move to “safeguard the country’s image,” The Star reported.
“Anyone who runs down the Government or ‘memburukkan kerajaan’ (vilifies the government) in any manner will be barred from going abroad,” the newspaper quoted a source as saying.
“Only the Immigration Department director-general will be authorized to look into their appeals.”
The source, who is close to the department, said it will impose travel bans upon request from the police and other enforcement agencies.
Lately, government critics, including prominent opposition politicians and dissidents, have been stopped at immigration counters of the nation’s airports just before they left for other countries. In most cases, the immigration officers had reportedly not cited any reasons for not allowing them to leave.
Prominent individuals who have been restricted from travelling in recent months include the Democratic Action Party’s Tony Pua, a harsh critic of scandal-ridden 1Malaysia Development Berhad(1MDB), Bersih 2.0 protest leader Maria Chin Abdullah of the Coalition of Free and Fair Elections, and Hishamuddin Rais, who escaped jail time on sedition charges earlier this week.