N. Gobalakrishnan who were deported back to Kuala Lumpur on the same day following directive from the State Secretariat were among the growing lists of politicians, social activists, environmentalist that have been blocked from entering Sarawak by the state government.
Gobalakrishnan who was contacted by Borneo Post on Dec 26, admitted that he was denied entry into Sarawak on Dec 26, 2008 because of his recent negative comments in Parliament about Sarawak.
The Padang Serai parliamentarian have instructed his lawyers in Kuching to initiate legal action against the relevant parties over the matter.
Gobalakrishnan recently highlighted certain issues that irked the Sarawak government such as Kapit lack of infrastructural development, corruption, oil royalty and native customary land.
He was denied entry at the immigration counter of the Kuching International Airport around 5.30pm on Dec 24.
Immigration officers handed over to him a notice containing suggestions that he was not a resident of Sarawak and that he would only be allowed entry if he had a permit from the State.
According to Gobalakrishnan, he was told by immigration officers in Kuching that he has been denied entry to Sarawak the moment he reached the Kuching International Airport (KIA).
‘Tuan bukan rakyat Sarawak, tidak berhak untuk masuk ke Sarawak tanpa permit atau pas Akta Imigresen 1959-1963’ (Sir, you are not a citizen of Sarawak, hence not eligible to enter Sarawak without valid permit or immigration pass),” immigration officials in the airport purportedly have told Gobalakrishnan according to Borneo Post.
Attempted by State PKR liaison chief Dominique Ng who is Padungan assemblyman to negotiate with immigration officials also proved to be futile.
Gobalakrishnan then boarded an AirAsia flight back to Kuala Lumpur at 9.50pm on the same day.
Yesterday an immigration spokesman said that the refusal of entry against the MP was a directive from the State Secretariat, reports Borneo Post.
However state government said that Gobalakrishnan case was an isolated one.
“We practise an open policy. We even have allowed Anwar and Lim Kit Siang to enter,” he told reporters after a function here yesterday said Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman.
Democratic Action Party (DAP) stalwart Lim Kit Siang was denied entry to Sarawak once over similar issues.
Another prominent Malaysian that was denied entry to Sarawak by the state government is former Universiti Malaya professor and currently UN Assistant Secretary General on Economic Development Prof. Jomo Kwami Sundram.
A popular news portal Malaysiakini said the state government may use its immigration powers to deny entry to more Peninsula-based politicians, including PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, in the face of what is seen as growing local support for the opposition.