Sarawak activist slams state minister over double standard “no entry ban” for UMNO Youth head

NO thanks to controversial UMNO Youth chief Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh, Sarawak’s ‘most active’ activist Peter John Jaban has found himself having a bone to pick with the state’s Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

The Global Human Rights Watch Federation deputy president has challenged comments made by the Asajaya state assemblyman in relation to Sarawak’s immigration autonomy and the state government’s stance towards inflammatory and racially motivated hate speech which could have led to the fire-bombing of a KK Super Mart store in Kuching last week.

While Karim who is also the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice-president is on record condemning the actions of Dr Akmal by accusing him of “incitement” and “playing up racial sentiments”, Jaban wondered how is it that he could suddenly turned around to say that the Merlimau state assemblyman will not be barred from entering the state.

“I don’t believe I’m jumping the gun on this issue. Our house is already on fire, literally in the case of the KK Super Mart store,” asserted the human rights campaigner who is also Sarawak Association for Peoples’ Aspiration (SAPA) publicity and information chief.

“Extremist views have leaked in here already. Why continue to welcome them through the front door?”

Peter John Jaban

For context, Karim had on Friday (April 5) contended that Sarawak will not bar Dr Akmal from entering the state for his views over the Allah inscription on socks controversy. His justification is that there was no need to deny entry to people with dissenting opinions.

“But if someone were to come here to incite and create disharmony or to pit one group against another based on race or religion, then I think they deserve to be stopped from entering Sarawak whether they are politicians or preachers of any faith,” he told reporters.

“Sarawak has the right to make sure that the racial and religious harmony we enjoy in the state is preserved. We do not want that to be disturbed.”

But still, Jaban who founded the “Sarawakians for Sarawak” movement in 2021 is baffled is to why an exemption was granted to the UMNO Youth head honcho despite his notorious track record at a time when Sarawak has been leveraging its immigration autonomy.

“Countless people have been banned from entering Sarawak over the years, most recently Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s (deputy president) S. Arutchelvan … but also BERSIH’s Maria Chin Abdullah, PKR’s (former vice-president) Tian Chua and activist Adam Adli, among others,” recalled Jaban.

“If he (Karim) will go on record claiming that citizens of a nation have the ‘right to go to any corner of the country’ and should not be barred for ‘dissenting views’, how does he account for these?” – April 8, 2024

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