Passport for Waytha: IGP’s clearance needed

Athi Shankar | July 29, 2012
The Malaysian High Commission in London can only issue a passport to the Hindraf chairman upon getting the green light from the IGP.
GEORGE TOWN: Attempts by Malaysian High Commission in London on Friday to issue a valid passport to Hindraf Makkal Sakti chairman P Waythamoorthy has hit a snag.

While processing the passport, the high commission immigration officers discovered an international alert to prevent Waythamoorthy from travelling to any part of the world with a Malaysian passport.

Upon checking with their Malaysian counterparts in Putrajaya, the officers informed Waythamoorthy that his was a special case needing personal clearance from Malaysian police force chief, the Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar himself.

By definition, the IGP has discreetly banned Waythamoorthy and violated his legitimate citizenry rights to obtain a valid Malaysian passport.

The immigration officers have said their hands were tied despite Putrajaya directives to issue the Hindraf supremo a valid Malaysian passport to facilitate his safe return home on Wednesday Aug 1.

Hindraf national coordinator W Sambulingam revealed this in a press statement today.
“It is clear the IGP has intention to initiate criminal charges against Waythamoorthy.
“Hindraf is fully prepared to face the situation,” said Sambulingam.

Waythamoorthy has said he does not fear arrest when he returns home next week from Singapore via the Johor causeway.

Sambulingam said the high commission officers were willing to issue an emergency passport to Waythamoorthy to allow him to travel one way into Malaysia.

But, Waythamoorthy refused to accept the passport, insisting that he ought to return his country with dignity of a rightful citizen.

Waythamoorthy, said Sambulingam, had told the high commission that his dignity had been ‘robbed’ in March 2008 when the federal government revoked his Malaysian passport.

“Thus, Waythamoorthy has insisted that his dignity ought to be reinstated for him to return to Malaysia as a rightful citizen with rights and dignity, and not at the government mercy,” Sambulingam said.

As a gesture of goodwill, Sambulingam said the high commission had returned the revoke and expired passport to Waythamoorthy.

Involvement of British MP
Sambulingam said the government’s change of heart started on July 17 when British MP Mr Jeremy Corbyn made written representations for Waythamoorthy to Malaysian High Commissioner to UK Aziz Mohamad.

In his letter, Corbyn, a member of Malaysian caucus in the UK Parliament, urged Aziz to issue a Malaysian passport to the Hindraf chairman to facilitate his safe return home.

On July 24, deputy high commissioner Wan Zaidi Wan Abdullah replied to Corbyn that the Malaysian government does not have any objection to Waythamoorthy’s return to his country.

Acting on Corbyn’s advice, Waythamoorthy’s lawyer, solicitor Ram of Dotcom Solicitors contacted the high commission and was informed that an emergency meeting was required to immediately process the passport.
Waythamoorthy attended the said meeting with Ram about 4.30 pm on Friday (British time) to process his passport during which the ‘IGP alert’ was discovered.

“Hindraf calls on the IGP to lift the ban and allow Waythamoorthy to return and face any criminal charges deemed fit,” said Sambulingam.

He noted that Putrajaya appeared to have softened its earlier hardline stance on Waythamoorthy’s passport in the wake of intense campaign by Hindraf and other supportive civil society groups.

But, he said Hindraf was troubled on why the government waited until Friday to contact Waythamoorthy, who was scheduled to leave London on Saturday evening (British time) and arrive at Singapore on Sunday evening (local time).

Waythamoorthy is expected to make one last attempt to obtain a valid passport from Malaysian High Commission in Singapore on Monday.

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