Activist Steven Ng says the refusal to allow him to enter the state was a BN ploy in view of the coming state election.KUALA LUMPUR: The Sarawak state government today barred an independent NCR land rights activist from entering the state, sparking off talks that the BN-led state government was shutting out critics in view of the coming state polls.
The activist, KL-based Steven Ng, was told upon his arrival at the Kuching International Airport at 6.10pm today that he could not be let in under instructions from the state security department.
“They asked me at immigration whether I was Steven Ng, at which point I knew I was in trouble because my official records do not carry that name,” he told FMT when contacted.
He was given an official letter of refusal (photo below), after which airport staff attempted to hand him over to security.
Ng however refused to be handed over to the security staff, stating that detaining him would be an infringement of his rights.
“I told them I would cooperate but they could expect a lawsuit afterwards. As a result, they let me wait in the airport.”
He is now expected to fly back to Kuala Lumpur in the 11.15pm flight.
BN’s knee-jerk reaction
When contacted during his wait at the airport, Ng said the denial of his entry into Sarawak had to do with the upcoming election.
Ng, who has been working on land grab issues for the past five years, called the state’s action a knee-jerk reaction “which showed that BN was rattled by the opposition and doubtful of their chances at being re-elected”.
“This flagrant breach of human rights by the (Chief Minister) Taib (Mahmud) regime tells us one thing: the state government is afraid of people like us.
“What have they got to hide? The next two days will see more NGOs coming in – so let’s see what they do,” he said.
There have been numerous instances of opposition leaders being denied entry into Sarawak in the past.
Last month, PKR’s Subang MP R Sivarasa was barred from entering Sarawak following orders issued by Taib.
Nominations for the Sarawak polls are set for Wednesday. This will be followed by a 10-day campaign period, with voting being carried out on April 16.
Under the Malaysia Agreement, Sarawak has the power to bar anyone from entering the state, including persons from Peninsular Malaysia.