You may want to think twice before ridiculing the Malaysian government or risk being banned from travelling abroad.
This is not a drill, by the way.
It appears that the Immigration Department has begun enforcing the law to bar Malaysians from exiting the country for 3 years if they’re caught insulting the government in any way. The ruling will also apply to Malaysians who are studying or travelling abroad.
This is supposedly enforced to “safeguard the country’s image”. Immigration director general Sakib Kusmi confirmed the existence of this policy to The Star saying, “The Malaysian international passport is a travel document issued by the Government under the aegis of the Yang DiPertuan Agong (the King of Malaysia). So, the Government has the discretion to either issue, defer or revoke the travel document.”
“Anyone who runs down the Government or ‘memburukkan kerajaan’ in any manner will be barred from going abroad. Only the Immigration Department director-general will be authorised to look into their appeals,” a source told the publication. Those who are banned from travelling overseas will have the right to challenge this in court.
The most recent case happened on Sunday (15th May 2016) when chairwoman of the anti-corruption movement Bersih 2.0, Ms Maria Chin Abdullah, wasn’t allowed to travel to South Korea to receive the 2016 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights award. Netizens have criticised the ban, calling it “a new low on our democracy and reeking of authoritarianism”.
To quote Phoon Chi Ho, “When you’re doing bad things, they bar you from leaving the country. When you’re doing too well, they tell you to leave the country.” Confusing much?
Sources: The Star, Straits Times, Today Online, Malaysia Kini.
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