The High Court in Kuala Lumpur today ruled that the ban on Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua on travelling overseas, stands.
Justice Hanipah Farikullah said that it was not a constitutional right for all, including Pua, to be allowed to travel abroad.
She also said in her oral judgment that the director-general of the Immigration Department has the power to enforce the ban under Section 3(2) of the Immigration Act.
The court cited Loh Wai Kong’s case which was decided by Lord President Suffian. It said the court was bound by this decision, which was also cited in the recent Victoria Jeyasalee versus the Federal Territory Islamic Council case.
As a result of the two cases cited in the Federal Court, Justice Hanipah said this court was bound by it, based on the stare decisis principle (a decision from a superior court that binds the lower court).
In Loh’s case, which was in 1975, he was not allowed to have his passport renewed as he had faced a criminal charge.
Justice Hanipah, in citing Loh’s case, said Suffian wrote that Article 9 (of the Federal Constitution) provides freedom of movement.
“However, the article is silent on travel outside the country,” she said.
On the (argument that) barring Pua from travelling had violated his right under Article 5 regarding ‘liberty of a person’, Justice Hanipah said this article relates to personal liberty but it does not include the right to travel (overseas) and right for someone to possess an (international) passport.
Justice Hanipah also said the ban did not violate Pua’s legitimate expectation right as there was no constitutional right that a citizen could travel abroad nor was there any promise or representation that a valid passport gave the holder that right.
Pua was barred from travelling to Yogjakarta on July 22 last year, after the inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar informed the director-general of the Immigration Department that the politician was being investigated under Section 124b of the Penal Code, on alleged actions detrimental to parliament democracy.
Khalid had issued a letter dated July 15 last year to the director-general of Immigration Department informing him about the investigation on Pua.
If the constitution does not provide for the right to travel, there is a very good reason.
The British, who drew it up, simply didn’t imagine an eventuality where someone would be denied their freedom of movement for no good reason at all.
More fool them?
Tony Pua is a senior figure, who along with very many other civil society and political figures, is currently being arbitrarily detained in the ‘modern democratic state of Malaysia’ – their passports having been rudely removed by police officers at the airport.
He is an elected member of the Federal Parliament, which is the highest sovereign body in the land (collectively more sovereign than the Prime Minister or the King).
On his last permitted trip abroad Pua attended his Alma Mater, which was Oxford University, to debate on a platform alongside a Minister from the Prime Minister’s Office on the future of democracy in Malaysia, together with other panelists.
Then, a year ago, an order came to prevent his next trip…. based on charges of “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy”.
These charges have yet to be substantiated by any evidence or explanation whatsoever and Tony Pua has continued to fulfil his role in the meantime as one of the most prominent and effective members of Parliament.
In that role, where he acts also as a Finance spokesperson for DAP, he has, of course, caused considerable embarrassment to the Prime Minister, who is also Finance Minister – and also Malaysian Official 1 at the eye of the storm over 1MDB.
Could this be the reason for the arbitrary restriction of his obvious right to move about as he pleases as a free man in a ‘free country’?
Malaysia has sadly reached a shocking state of affairs, as all thinking people know and the world has woken up to. An under-talented leader, supported by people who are even more stupid, but equally greedy and corrupted, is panicking as he loses control.
Najib has stopped trying to justify his actions and he is merely attempting to intimidate. He is abusing all the official levers of authority which he has excessively appropriated while in office, plainly in order to compensate for a lack of confidence in his own ability to lead through his own force of character and the natural respect accorded to good leaders.
There are still good men and women in Malaysia, but Najib from the day he took office has been packing the bench and every civil service job with yes men as hard as he can go.
Malaysians have therefore to decide if they want to be ruled increasingly by morons making moronic decisions with no foundation in law or logic… or to mention publicly that they don’t.
It’s the difference between freedom and bondage and it has to come from the people themselves.