According to a report in The Star, Director General of the Immigration Department, Seri Mustafa Ibrahim, has announced that persons who have been designated a threat to national security or those who have disgraced the country will be barred from international travel.
The Director General added that the Immigration Department is wholly within its right to enforce this ban and that the department will soon add persons suspected of human trafficking and other crimes to this blacklist. The Director General’s comments came at a press conference following the launch of the East Coast shooting training program.
Seri Mustafa Ibrahim added that those who find themselves on this blacklist shouldn’t be surprised if they’re banned from international travel and added that there is a reason that every name on the list is there. “The department does not simply blacklist anyone’s passports as it wishes,” Mustafa was reported as saying.
A challenge was been filed against the ruling in August by Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, who has been critical of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) after he was prevented from leaving the country in July.
According to Pua, the Immigration Department has failed to respond to questions from Pua’s attorney. The High Court has allows Pua’s challenge to go forward and a hearing has been set before Judge Datug Asmabi Mohamad. Pua was traveling to Yogyakarta, Indonesia when he was stopped by immigration officials and informed that he was not permitted to leave the country.
The DAP’s national chief of publicity is also seeking monetary damages for losses incurred as a result of the travel ban. Pua claims that he was given no notice of the ban, that the ban was unreasonable, unfair, arbitrary and made in bad faith. Pua noted that his passport does not expire until 2020 and there is no reason that his travel should be restricted.