After a long back-and-forth battle between the Malaysian authorities and sex-blogger-turned-asylum-seeker Alvin Tan (of “Alvivi”/”Sumptuous Erotica” fame), Malaysia’s Immigration Department has finally clamped down on his Malaysians travel documents.
This is coming after months of Alvin challenging the Malaysian authorities as well as making headlines for hurling insults at royalties and royal titles. Let’s not forget that the 26-year-old ex-NUS scholar, despite not being in the country, still faces 2 charges under the Film Censorship Act and Sedition Act for a “Ramadhan greeting” that was posted up on the Facebook page that both he and his then partner, 25-year-old Vivian Lee, used to own.
Now residing in the US and currently seeking political asylum after jumping bail in Malaysia, Alvin still maintains his stand on what he thinks about Malaysia and the country’s system. In fact, he actively questions sociopolitical issues as well as the workings of Malaysia’s system, exhibiting no reservations whatsoever via his Facebook postings.
According to The Star Online, the last straw came when Alvin questioned the revocation of the Datuk Seri award of Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim by the Selangor Sultan. He also dared Malaysian Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to revoke his passport hours after the minister was quoted as saying that Alvin’s passport was government property and “can be revoked as early as tomorrow” – in a caps-locked and profanity-laden Facebook post, might we add.
As such, and quicker than anyone would have imagined, it has now been confirmed that the Immigration Department has revoked the passports of both sex blogger Alvin Tan and activist Ali Abd Jalil, both of whom have sought refuge in foreign countries. Immigration Department director-general Datuk Mustafa Ibrahim said the move was necessary so as to serve as a warning to those who insult the courts, the rulers and Islam.
Note: 29-year-old Ali Abd Jalil is currently in Sweden and still facing sedition charges for allegedly insulting the royalty.
“We have also blacklisted their names from the system and we will notify them via official letters that will be sent to their Malaysian addresses,” he told a press conference on Monday (8th Dec). Without quoting a specific clause, Mustafa referred the decision to a notice on the back of Malaysian passports which state that the passport is Government property and that the Government reserves the right to revoke it at anytime.
“We are also supporting the Home Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi’s call and this decision is in line with what the public has demanded,” he said.
And what does Alvin Tan make of all these? As quick as he has had his passport revoked, he released an exclusive story to CNA, telling them that he’s unfazed by the move. In a video, he said:
What did I feel when it was announced that my passport was revoked? Nothing really. I have a pretty decent life now in America which I have of course built with my own blood and sweat, and so losing a mere travel document is not going to change anything. In any case, US Immigration has possession of my passport since May this year, so it makes no practical difference to my life right now.
America has all that I need. I mean, it is the political, economic and cultural headquarters of the world right now and it is literally the size of a whole continent. So I think I have plenty to explore before I get replacement documents – most likely a refugee travel document issued by US Immigration.
Watch the full video here:
Well, Alvin is right about “losing a mere travel document is not going to change anything” to some degree.
Because as reported by The Star Online, Immigration Department director-general Datuk Mustafa Ibrahim did say that the revocation of Tan and Ali’s passports did not mean that they had been stripped of their citizenships. He said the 2 could still return to Malaysia, but with different documents and that they will have to apply for an emergency certificate in the respective countries in order to come back.
Also, when asked if both would be arrested upon their arrival in Malaysia, Mustafa said that decision was not within their jurisdiction.
More importantly, The Malaysian Insider reported that Putrajaya has no authority to revoke passports of its citizens. Citing civil lawyers, it has come to light that such administrative action is in breach of fundamental rights accorded in the Federal Constitution. They argued that a Federal Court ruling in 2009 had held that “personal liberty” under Article 5 includes the right of Malaysians to travel abroad with a valid passport.
The lawyers said the department should immediately cancel the order in deference to the apex court’s ruling. At best, the lawyers pointed out that law enforcement agencies could stop a citizen, including those facing criminal charges, from going abroad.
What are your thoughts on the issue, though? Was there a real purpose to revoking Alvin’s passport then, aside from it serving as a warning to the public should they too question what might happen if they insult the courts, Islam, or Malaysia’s rulers? Should our Malaysian authorities exercise harsher consequences in dealing with this fugitive? Or is it high time for someone, anyone to put a lid on the case already?
Sound off in the comments box below!