PETALING JAYA - New Zealand activist Natalie Lowrey, who was arrested in June in connection with a protest, has been barred from re-entering Malaysia after being blacklisted.
The 42-year-old woman, who is also an Australian permanent resident (PR), was denied entry shortly after she arrived at KLIA2 from Sydney at about 7.55pm on Sunday.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zahid Hamidi confirmed that Lowrey was barred as she has been blacklisted.
"The Immigration Department has denied her entry into the country as she was on the blacklist.
"The department director-general will elaborate further on the matter soon," he told a press conference yesterday.
It is learnt that Lowrey was previously arrested for being involved in the "Shutdown Lynas" protest on June 22 but it is still unclear whether the case had anything to do with her being blacklisted.
In a statement, the Stop Lynas movement said Lowrey would be deported back to the country she flew in from.
"She is being sent to Bali and will fly into Sydney on Tuesday at 6.50am. Lowrey was informed of a strict denial of entry to Malaysia but reasons were not given.
"Lowrey and 15 Malaysians were previously arrested at a peaceful protest in June demanding Lynas to close down its operation of the Lynas Advanced Material Plant (LAMP) in Kuantan.
"Lowrey was detained for six days, then released without charge and no mention of being unable to return to the country.
"The Malaysians arrested are being tried under the Penal Code," the statement said.
Concerned citizens across Malaysia are appealing to the international community to apply pressure on the Malaysian Government and Lynas over the lack of transparency of waste management at the LAMP and for its intimidation tactics against environmental defenders, including members of the grassroots movement Himpunan Hijau (Green Assembly).
Kuantan resident Seet Ping and secretary of the movement said: "The LAMP was quietly built on our backyard without us knowing about it, and day by day the toxic radioactive wastes are piling up in open storage ponds in the plant which is situated in a low lying swampy area exposed to yearly extreme monsoon weather.
"Thousands of Malaysians have mobilised against Lynas over the past three years.
"We have collected 1.2 million physical signatures within 36 days in a petition calling for the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant to be shut down.
"We want Lynas to pack up, clean up and get out of Malaysia."