|Syed Jaymal Zahiid and Rahmah Ghazali
|MIC information chief M Saravanan said there was no need for the government to revoke the passport of Hindu Rights Action Force leader P Waythamoorthy though he is known to be severely critical towards the authorities.
The Federal Territories Deputy Minister when contacted said that the Hindraf leader should not be likened to a criminal by his passport being revoked simply for his criticism towards the government.
“The government owes an explanation to the public as to why they revoked his passport because it involves a Malaysian citizen. They have to justify their action.
“In my eyes, he’s not a terrorist. He just condemned the government, but that does not mean the government can revoke his passport,” argued Saravanan.
Waythamoorthy revealed today that he had been informed by the British immigration officials that his Malaysian passport has been revoked, rendering him in as a stateless person. He is presently in Britain after leaving Kuala Lumpur last November to escape a givernment dragnet on Hindraf leaders.
Amnesty International’s Washington-based Asia-Pacific advocacy director T Kumar had earlier told AFP that Waythamoorthy has applied for asylum in the UK.
According to the British Home Office website, asylum is given under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
To be recognised as a refugee, one must have left one’s country and be unable to go back because he or she have a well-founded fear of persecution because of his or her race, religion,nationality, political opinion, or membership of a particular social group.
The British authorities is reported to be contemplating to hold hearings to consider Waythamoorthy’s application for political asylum.
Apart from Saravanan, various quarters also expressed their shock towards the matter.
Below are the excerpts of what these people had to say:
N Surendran, human rights and Hindraf lawyer
This act amounts up to nothing but a clear indication of political prosecution. It is a vindictive step taken by the home ministry. Not only is he under Internal Security Act threat back home (but now) he is getting harassed abroad as well. He doesn’t deserve to be treated this way, all he did was raise valid concerns of the Indian minority of this country. This act shows clearly that the government cannot take criticism.
John Liu, Suara Rakyat Malaysia’s managing coordinator
It’s a blatant attempt by the government to stop his movement. They have no right to revoke his passport. The government is just trying to get him so that he could be detained under ISA.
Simon Sipaun, Suhakam vice chairperson
As to what reason the government has revoked his passport. Did they (revoke) the passport under certain law, or any particular legislation, and what under condition of federal constitution?
If the government wants to revoke his passport, they have to state the actual reason (according to the law).
Anil Netto, Aliran activist
I think it’s unfortunate for him because he has not been found guilty of any crime. So, he also should be allowed of any movement and the government should be accountable for the decision and should make public the reason why they revoked his passport.