LAST_UPDATETue, 17 Jul 2018 10pm

Suhakam Chides Mahathir For Imposing Travel Bans

During his first stint as the Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has made a name for himself as one of the most authoritarian leaders in the world, let alone Malaysia.

His 22-year term was marred with allegations of unlawful imprisonments of his political rival, oppressive press laws, allegations of nepotism, cronyism, and many more.

Which is why now that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is in his second stint as the Prime Minister, it is imperative that we have high ranking officials who are not afraid to reprimand him, so that he does not slip back to his old ways.

For this reason, it is good to see that the chairman of Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), Razali Ismail speaking out against Mahathir’s action of meting out travel bans for several individuals.

Razali stated that every individual has the right to freedom of movement including travelling overseas, and that the government should respect this if they plan to fulfilling their human rights reforms in the country.

“Suhakam defends the principle of the right to freedom of movement,” he commented to FMT.

“While understanding the complications of the current situation and matters relating to national interest, Suhakam further advises in the public interest that the circumstances justifying the prohibition to travel will need to be provided,” said Razali Ismail.

Razali also went on to add that under the existing Immigration Act 1959/63, no conditions have been stated that allows for anyone’s movement to be limited.

“Therefore, conferring an unfettered discretion on the director-general to decide on the right to freedom of movement of an individual would not be in line with international standards,” concluded Razali.

It is believed that Razali is referring to the current government’s action of barring several high profile individuals from leaving the country, which goes against the basic principle of human rights.

So far, the immigration department has put out travel bans against 7 individuals, former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, his wife Rosmah Mansor, former Treasurer-General Tan Sri Irwan Serigar Abdullah, former commissioner of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission, Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad, Attorney-General, Tan Sri Apandi Ali, Former Inspector-General of police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, and CEO of 1MDB, Arul Kanda.