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Immigration Department has no right to revoke passport of Malaysians who criticise the government

The recent statement by the Director General of Immigration Datuk Alias Ahmad that passports of Malaysian citizens who protest and criticise the Malaysian government overseas will be revoked has no moral, legal or administrative basis whatsoever.

KEADILAN condemns this utterly misguided statement to infringe on one of the most fundamental rights as a citizen.

The Immigration Department has no business to comment on what Malaysians do overseas and use the government’s administrative power to curtail the rights of citizens.

Criticism of the government does not equate criticism of the country. More than at any time in history, Malaysians across the world are expressing their desire for democratic reforms and free and fair elections. That should be celebrated, not shunned.

It must be noted that the Immigration Department is under the purview Minister of Home Affairs Datuk Seri Dr Zahid Hamidi who has been cracking down on dissent since he took office this month. Thus this latest statement by Alias shows a disturbing pattern that can be seen under Zahid’s regime that totally contradicts the notion of a national reconciliation advanced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

It is time Najib stop abusing and misusing the government institutions for their own narrow political interests.