Immigration Director-General Alias Ahmad should be censured for professional negligence and ineptitude
The Immigration Director-General Alias Ahmad should be censured for professional negligence and ineptitude for allowing six days to pass before clarifying that he had been misquoted about invoking a non-existing law to revoke passports of dissenting Malaysians.
Six days ago on 27th May, 2013, Berita Harian reported that Malaysians living abroad who participate in anti-government activities and activities to tarnish Malaysia’s image may be barred from returning home.
Alias was quoted as saying that his department is obliged to do so under Section 8 of the Immigration Act 1959/1963 and that actions that can be taken include blacklisting those involved in such activities and cancelling their passports for a period of three to five years.
Responding to Berita Harian’s question on actions to be taken against Malaysians studying abroad who participated in demonstrations to protest against alleged fraud in the May 5 general election, Alias said: “We are waiting for Wisma Putra’s report regarding Malaysians doing such things while abroad”.
When the Berita Harian report of Alias’ statement was picked up by Malaysiakini on the same day, I checked Section 8 of the Immigration Act 1959/1963 and found that the Immigration Director-General was talking rubbish, as Section 8 was about “Prohibited Immigrants”.
I found it totally irresponsible, unprofessional and unethical that Alias never sought to clarify the mischievous Berita Harian report in the ensuing days, not only that Section 8 of the Immigration Act does not empower the government to cancel any Malaysian passport from three to five years of any dissenting Malaysian abroad, but failing to correct the impression that the Malaysian government is cruel, callous and heartless to the extent that it could willy-nilly cancel passports of Malaysians abroad to render them “stateless” in foreign lands!
Compounding his professional negligence and ineptitude six days ago, Alias gave another interview to Berita Harian two days ago on May 30, declaring that 6,564 Malaysians will have their passports cancelled to prevent them from leaving the country, among others, because they had “tarnished the nation’s image abroad”.
Alias never sought to clarify that he was wrong or was misquoted in Berita Harian on Monday about invoking Section 8 of the Immigrant Act 1959/63, which was about “Prohibited Immigrants”, to cancel Malaysian passports from three to five years.
Instead, Alias aggravated his professional negligence and ineptitude by seeking to give the impression that some 6,564 Malaysians overseas have been blacklisted for exercising their constitutional right to show their support for Pakatan Rakyat in the recent 13th General Elections.
It is only today that Alias had denied a news report quoting him as citing Section 8 of the Immigration Act 1959/64 or the Passport Act to support the decision to cancel the passports of blacklisted Malaysians.
Alias told Malaysiakini that he was misquoted by Berita Harian and that the daily “will make corrections soon”.
This clarification further underlines Alias’ unfitness to hold the post of Immigration Director-General, for he showed neither responsibility, concern nor remorse at giving a totally wrong impression in the past six days that the Malaysian government would be punishing Malaysians abroad for their dissent with the ruling Barisan Nasional government by cancelling their passports from three to five years.
It is also as a terribly adverse reflection on the new Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamid that he could allow a departmental head in his Ministry to behave in such an irresponsible and unethical manner.
Would the new Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi censure Alias for his professional irresponsibility, negligence and ineptitude, or was all these egregious misconduct done with the knowledge or even encouragement of the new Home Minister?