KUCHING - PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar was banned from Sarawak because of photos showing her with Jacel Kiram, the daughter of self-styled Sulu "sultan" Jamalul Kiram III.
Sarawak Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club chairman Abdullah Saidol confirmed this on Monday, when asked about the matter at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly here.
"It's unfortunate. Nurul was being less than sensitive. We considered her actions unpatriotic. Since Sabah has taken action, what's wrong for us to follow suit?" Saidol told a press conference.
Last month, the Sabah Assembly passed a motion to ban Nurul Izzah from entering the state after the controversial photos emerged on Jacel's Facebook page.
Saidol said the 2013 Sabah intrusion by armed southern Filipinos, whom are linked to Jacel, also caused the death of Sarawakian policeman ASP Michael Padel. More recently, Kuching-born Bernard Then, a hostage of the Abu Sayyaf terror group, was beheaded.
"When the Assembly began this morning, we had a minute of silence for the late Then. A Sarawakian policeman was also killed defending the country from intruders. The people Nurul Izzah visited are directly involved. I think she was asking for it. She's banned. To me, it's justified. Anybody who is like that is not welcome in Sarawak," Saidol said.
Nurul Izzah was not allowed to pass immigration control at Kuching International Airport when she arrived at 4pm on Sunday. She was then put on a 7.10pm flight back to Kuala Lumpur.
She was denied entry under Section 65(1)(a) of the Immigration Act 1959/63.
Unlike Sabah, however, there has been no indication so far of a motion in the Sarawak Assembly with regard to the photo controversy.
Sarawak has previously banned PKR's Rafizi Ramli and Tian Chua, DAP's Teresa Kok, as well as Sarawak Report founder Clare Newcastle Brown, Perkasa's Ibrahim Ali and lecturer Dr Ridhuan Tee Abdullah.
Saidol said Nurul Izzah's ban is not political in nature. When asked by a reporter to comment on the Opposition's claim that the state is abusing its immigration powers, the Barisan backbencher chief replied: "She is the one that abused the liberty given to her as a citizen."