KUCHING, July 1 — Electoral reform group Bersih today confirmed that its chairman Thomas Fann has been barred from entering Sarawak.
However, it added that the town hall talk organised by a local team here for tomorrow will continue as scheduled.
“Fann, as the chair of our organisation, is key in spearheading this important campaign and was expected to address this Saturday’s townhall in-person.
“Nonetheless, the message of restoring voters’ supremacy after the people’s mandate had been pushed aside during the ‘Sheraton Move’, plunging our country into two and a half years of political uncertainty, cannot be stopped and will continue in Kuching this Saturday and the rest of the country thereafter,” Bersih’s steering committee said in a statement.
It added that Fann will deliver his address virtually instead.
Bersih said it received the letter of rejection from the Sarawak State Secretary’s office to its application for Fann to enter the state and expressed its regret at the decision.
Fann has been on Sarawak’s “no entry list” since 2016.
“While the Immigration Act grants Sarawak and Sabah the right to deny entry to any non-residents of the East Malaysian states, it was never intended to restrict legitimate political activities under Section 67 of the Act,” the Bersih steering committee said.
The electoral reform group said it is on a nationwide Ketuanan Pengundi Roadshow to increase public awareness of voter rights and political reforms needed to strengthen the parliamentary democracy before the 15th general election.
It called on the Sarawak government to lift the ban on Fann, politicians, lawyers, academics and other political activists on their “no-entry list” with immediate effect.
“A clean, stable and confident government who has nothing to hide needs not fear advocates of institutional reform or any dissenting voices, when it is supposedly pushing for a more open and decentralised Malaysia,” the steering committee stressed.