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Saturday, December 27, 2008

> Gobalakrishan: I know why I was kicked out

There are two key reasons why Peninsula-based parliamentarian N Gobalakrishnan was banned from entering Sarawak on Wednesday.

According to the Kedah MP, he was kicked out of the state because the opposition is increasingly becoming a threat to the Sarawak government and for his speech in Parliament attacking long-time Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Having visited Sarawak many times, Gobalakrishnan said did not face any problems with the state immigration until two days ago. The authorities however did not give any reason for the ban.

Gobalakrishnan said his most recent visit to the state was last week when he was in Lubok Antu, south of Kuching, to help the locals in their Christmas preparation.

“Why is the ban imposed on me now? This is definitely political,” said Gobalakrishnan. “In the last few months, I have visited several longhouses and I have garnered support from the locals, especially from the Dayak people.”

In addition, he said the state government had invited him to attend the Gawai Day celebrations in June.

“Why the sudden U-turn?” he asked.

He vows to challenge ban in court

Gobalakrisnan vowed he would not to let the matter rest.

He intends to challenge the ban in the Kuching High Court. According to him, the state authorities have violated the Immigration Act.

“They had used article 66 (1) where the state chief minister has the right to deny entry to anybody. But under the article 66 (1)(c), any individual from a body formed under the federal constitution should not be denied entry. The Dewan Rakyat falls under the federal constitution,” he argued. 

On Wednesday afternoon, the first-time MP was refused entry into Sarawak by immigration officers at the Kuching International Airport.

Gobalakrishnan was there to attend a PKR seminar outside Kuching and visit his Iban adoptive parents in Kapit, a town in central Sarawak, for Christmas.

In recent weeks, PKR has beefed up its campaign to dislodge long-time chief minister Abdul Taib from power after 27 years. 

Party leader Anwar Ibrahim has also called on opposition parliamentarians to visit the state on a regular basis to touch base with voters ahead of a state election which must be held in two years.

Taib has however dismissed the possibility of Sarawak falling into the hands of the Anwar-led opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat. 

Punished for criticising Taib

Gobalakrishnan also believed that the entry ban against him was because he questioned the Sarawak strongman in Parliament during the debate on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) bill last week.

At the debate, MP for Bandar Kuching Chong Chien Jeng had alleged that Taib had awarded multi-million ringgit road construction contracts to family-owned company CMS Group - whose chairman was his own son, Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib, now deputy tourism minister.

The main shareholder of the company also include another of Taib’s son, Abu Bakar Taib, who is the deputy chairperson and Taib’s wife, who controls a major stake in the company.

Chong took the Anti-Corruption Agency to task for failing to investigate the matter as the numerous multi-million ringgit construction contracts were awarded to the company by the state government without open tenders.

Gobalakrishnan then stood up and backed Chong in his assertion. 

The Kedah MP said he would bring up his entry ban in Parliament when sittings resume in February - Malaysiakini.