MALAYSIAN human rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) has strongly condemned the Immigration Department’s decision to deport Bangladeshi opposition politician MA Quayum, in blatant disregard of a court order issued by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Jan 18.
The court had ordered a stay on Quayum’s deportation until the conclusion of his habeas corpus application proceedings.
SUARAM executive director Sevan Doraisamy called on Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail to intervene and halt the deportation, pointing out the violation of the court order.
“Quayum’s lawyers were only informed of this development six days later (after the deportation order dated Jan 24). Whether Quayum is still in Malaysia or has been deported is uncertain.
“We strongly condemn this deportation order, as this is in defiance of the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision on Jan 18 to stay Quayum’s deportation until the conclusion of the latter’s habeas corpus application proceedings,” he said in a statement today.
Moreover, Sevan noted the contradiction between Malaysia’s claims of providing “humanitarian assistance” to refugees and asylum seekers during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session last Friday (Jan 26) and the current violation of the court order.
He expressed concern over Malaysia’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, citing arbitrary arrests, detention and deportations as factors contributing to the country’s “notorious” reputation.
Furthermore, the Suaram executive director also claimed that Malaysia’s lack of a national policy framework for the protection of refugees has garnered international attention, with at least eight countries making recommendations in this regard during the recent UPR session.
“It is also noteworthy that Malaysia’s longstanding lack of a national policy framework for the protection of this marginalised group has come under the spotlight for the first time since the first UPR cycle, with corresponding or similar recommendations given by at least eight countries from Europe, South America, Western Africa and South Asia.
“Violation of the principle of non-refoulment contravenes the fundamental human rights principles of freedom, justice and security for all that the Madani government has so fervently propounded to 131 countries at the international stage on Jan 25,” he further added.
“As Malaysia seeks to cooperate with other countries, UN agencies and other key partners to ‘further improve efforts to aid refugees and asylum seekers’, it is imperative that the government also respects and protects the rights of refugees, including refraining from forcibly returning them to a country where they may face harm.”
Quayum who had been under Malaysia’s Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme since 2015, was apprehended on Jan 12 during a joint operation conducted by Malaysian police and the National Security Intelligence (NSI) of Bangladesh.
Suaram had previously alleged that Quayum’s detention was part of a broader crackdown by the Bangladeshi government against political opposition.
Despite having an MM2H pass, documents revealed that Quayum’s pass was revoked one day after his detention. – Jan 31, 2023