Court dismisses Maria Chin’s travel ban appeal

Source: FreeMalaysiaToday

Maria Chin Abdullah failed in her bid to challenge the Immigration director-general’s decision to bar her from travelling abroad after her judicial review application was dismissed. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa for the MMO.

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has dismissed former Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah’s appeal after she was stopped from leaving Malaysia in 2016.

A three-member bench chaired by Justice Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid said the matter was academic and the court would not want to act in vain.

“We are of the view the appeal has become academic and there is no travesty of justice,” she said.

Maria, who was recently elected Petaling Jaya MP, can now travel abroad as the ban has been lifted.

On May 18 last year, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur ruled that an amendment to the Immigration Act did not allow the courts to hear complaints from citizens who are banned from travelling overseas. Read more

Court of Appeal hearing for Maria Chin’s travel ban

Source: FreeMalaysiaToday

Maria Chin Abdullah failed in her bid to challenge the Immigration director-general’s decision to bar her from travelling abroad after her judicial review application was dismissed. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa for the MMO.

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has dismissed former Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah’s appeal after she was stopped from leaving Malaysia in 2016.

A three-member bench chaired by Justice Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid said the matter was academic and the court would not want to act in vain.

“We are of the view the appeal has become academic and there is no travesty of justice,” she said.

Maria, who was recently elected Petaling Jaya MP, can now travel abroad as the ban has been lifted.

On May 18 last year, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur ruled that an amendment to the Immigration Act did not allow the courts to hear complaints from citizens who are banned from travelling overseas.

Justice Nik Hasmat Nik Mohamad said, as such, she could not provide the remedy sought by Maria.

“The ouster clause in Section 59A of the Immigration Act has prevented aggrieved citizens the right to judicial review,” the judge said in dismissing the suit brought by Maria.

She said Section 59 of the legislation further allowed the respondents – the home minister and the Immigration Department director-general – the right not to give reasons why such a ban was being imposed, except for procedural non-compliance.

Maria had claimed that she was informed of her travel ban just shortly before she was to board a flight to South Korea on May 15 , 2016, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Maria had applied to quash the decision made by the respondents to blacklist her from travelling abroad. She had also sought a declaration that the respondents did not have the power to reach the decision and had, therefore, acted in excess of their jurisdiction.

Lawyer Gurdial Singh Nijar, who represented Maria, today submitted that the court should make a ruling to determine the power of the (Immigration Department) director-general.

He said a ruling for future guidance was needed or else the authorities could be irrational and unreasonable in imposing travel bans.

“Where else could we go for remedy if not to the court to act as final arbiter ?” he asked.

Gurdial said failure of the court to make a ruling would put a stamp of approval to the decision of the director-general.

“The issue at hand is not about a private right of a citizen but a matter of public interest,” he said.

Government lawyer Shamsul Bolhassan submitted that there were case laws to support the fact that the court need not hear an academic issue and deliver decision.

“It will be hypothetical to decide on the powers of the director-general,” he said.

Speaking to reporters, Gurdial said the court had abdicated its duty by refusing to entertain the appeal.

“By abstaining, the court has given an unfettered discretion to the director-general to decide on the right to travel,” he said.

Gurdial said it was acceptable if a person was stopped from leaving Malaysia due to a criminal charge or while criminal investigations were conducted.

Maria said she filed the action in court as she had been prevented from leaving the country to accept a human rights award on behalf of Bersih.

“Later we found out the grounds to impose the prohibition was that I will be tarnishing the image of the country,” she said.

 

Related Article

 

Maria: End of year-old case over Bersih shows Sosma detention was baseless

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 ― Bersih 2.0’s Maria Chin Abdullah claimed the police’s decision to close a year-old case against the polls reform group showed that her detention without trial was baseless.

Maria, who chairs Bersih 2.0, said police also decided to return all items seized from Bersih 2.0, at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters today.

“Bukit Aman police has informed me that all investigations towards Bersih 2.0 and me have been closed.

“More interestingly, I was made to understand by the police that the return of the seized items are on the orders of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

“Therefore it is proven that my detention under Sosma was without basis at all, and was merely a move to intimidate me, my family and Malaysians who love peace, democracy and justice,” she said in a statement today, referring to the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act. Read more

Bersih 2.0 claims more soldiers shifted as voters to unbuilt camps

Source: The Malay Mail Online

PETALING JAYA, Nov 7 ― More military personnel and their spouses have been transferred as voters to yet-to-be-built camps in several locations in peninsular Malaysia, Bersih 2.0 claimed today.

The elections watchdog said its investigations found the Election Commission (EC) had made voter transfers to locations in at least two states other than one it had previously highlighted in Segamat, Johor ― including to one in the constituency of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

According to Bersih 2.0, up to 2,700 persons to the Bera Camp in Pahang and Hutan Melintang Camp in Perak, both of which are still under construction.

The group alleged that the transfers were politically motivated, pointing to the EC’s set-up of new localities to register voters from the camps.

“The EC had actually set up localities for these new camps,” the group’s co-chairman, Maria Chin Abdullah, told a press conference here. Read more

Promoting Umno in schools a sign of desperation, say politicians, activists

Source: FMT News

They want the government to promote quality education, not politics in school.

PETALING JAYA: Politicians and an activist have slammed Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor for abusing his powers to promote Umno in school instead of helping the government to promote quality education.

Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin said he should not mix politics with the functions of the government.

“It is an abuse of power. He is the government of the day and should not be mixing both.

“People vote the government to run the country for them and not to abuse it outright to recruit students. It is out of line,” she said.

Maria was asked to comment on a report that hundreds of pupils and teachers from SK Putrajaya Presint 14 (1) took part in a “class decoration and performance” competition with the theme “Umno and independence #Negaraku”.

During the function, Umno flags were draped all over the primary school.

The pupils also brandished Umno flags and sang the party’s anthem.

The report said at one point, a banner with the words “Hidup Umno, Hidup Melayu. Dulu, Kini dan Selamanya” (“Long Live Umno, Long Live Malays. Before, Now and Forever”) appeared on stage. Read more

Two Bersih leaders, PKR MP freed from 2015 #KitaLawan rally charge

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 — The Magistrate’s Court discharged today polls reform group Bersih 2.0 chief Maria Chin Abdullah and two others from an 2015 criminal case over a #KitaLawan rally, but issued an arrest warrant for the fourth person charged.

Lawyer Vince Tan, who represented Bersih 2.0 secretariat manager Mandeep Singh — one of the three people freed — said today was initially set for trial for the two-year-old case.

Tan said the defence team for the accused were ready for the trial, but the original deputy public prosecutor’s absence led to the discharge of three of the four accused present in court — Maria, Mandeep and PKR’s Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin.

Another deputy public prosecutor had attended court proceedings today for a mention of the case on behalf of the initial deputy public prosecutor, he said.

“The court gave discharge not amounting to acquittal to all accused because the prosecution was not there. So the magistrate decided the matter, three of the accused given discharge not amounting to acquittal,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted. Read more

Time women speak out on national issues, says activist

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: Bersih 2.0 chief Maria Chin Abdullah has urged women to speak out on political and human rights issues, many of which appear to have no resolution in sight.

Speaking to FMT, Maria said now was the time for women to make their voices heard as their exposure to current issues had gained much traction as of late.

“Women account for about 50% of Malaysia’s population and 40%-50% of the total voters in the country.

“So we should have a say on the issues in the country, and it should carry some weight with policymakers,” she said.

According to Maria, many of these issues had not been resolved or had been kept under wraps as policymakers continued delaying discussions on the matters. Read more

‘Poca not like ISA, but worse than EO’

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: A human rights lawyer has described the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) as a revamped and more insidious version of the 1969 Emergency (Public Order and Crimes Prevention) Ordinance (EO), which was repealed in 2013.

Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen said Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed was making the wrong comparison when he said Poca was unlike the Internal Security Act in that it was not a draconian law.

“That is not the comparison,” he told FMT. “Poca should be compared to the EO. Indeed, it is worse than the EO because, while it appears that there’s judicial oversight, there is actually none.”

He noted that Poca, like the EO, allows a person to be detained without trial.

Under Poca, he added, a magistrate would have no choice but to give a remand order. He said this was abnormal because remand applications should always be subject to challenges.

“Under Poca, it appears that the magistrate’s court does not have a choice. Whenever there is a application signed by a police officer, the court will have to give the order.”

Yesterday, Nur Jazlan said Poca gave detainees rights that were more secure than those provided under the ISA. Read more

Death threat probe on Bersih chief submitted to AGC

Source: FMT News 

KUALA LUMPUR: Police have completed their probe into the death threats against Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and her sons, Bersih committee member Mandeep Singh and Malaysian Human Rights Society chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan.

“The investigation paper was submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers on April 12, 2017,” the home ministry said in a written reply at the Dewan Rakyat today.

The ministry added that the government was awaiting a report on the issue from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

The ministry was replying to Ramkarpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor), who asked about the status of the police reports made by Maria, Ambiga and Mandeep regarding the death threats they received. Read more

Death threat probe on Bersih chief submitted to AGC

Source: FMT News

However, second death threat against Maria Chin and her sons last November is still under police investigation. Pic from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR: Police have completed their probe into the death threats against Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and her sons, Bersih committee member Mandeep Singh and Malaysian Human Rights Society chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan.

“The investigation paper was submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers on April 12, 2017,” the home ministry said in a written reply at the Dewan Rakyat today.

The ministry added that the government was awaiting a report on the issue from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). Read more