Malaysian MP Tony Pua may sue government over travel bar

Malaysian MP Tony Pua may sue government over travel bar
PHOTO: The Star

PETALING JAYA - Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua is considering filing a lawsuit against the Government after he was barred from leaving the country Wednesday.

The DAP national publicity chief said he was not informed beforehand that he was on the no-fly list, nor had he been called in for questioning for any investigation.

He said there was no reason preventing him from leaving the country, and could only speculate that the ban was related to his criticism of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and allegations of a conspiracy by the Opposition to topple Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

"The Immigration officers said they had no clue why I was barred, except that it was instructions from 'higher up'.

"As far as I am concerned, I have committed no crimes and taken part in no illegal activities in any issue relating to 1MDB.

"I will be consulting my lawyers to discuss filing a suit against the Government for preventing me from leaving the country without due process," Pua told reporters at the DAP headquarters on Wednesday.

Also present at the press conference were DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming, Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong and Rasah MP Teo Kok Seong.

Pua was scheduled to board a 3.15pm flight to Yogyakarta, Indonesia from KLIA2 when he was flagged by Immigration officers.

He said the trip was part of his work on the Penang arts district project. He was scheduled to leave Yogyakarta on Saturday and fly to Singapore for a reunion dinner before flying back to Malaysia on Sunday.

"I was planning to come back, not run away," Pua said in jest, adding that he was told to file an appeal with the securities division of the Home Ministry if he wished to leave the country.

Pua reiterated that he had never met Lester Melanyi, the man who has accused him of conspiring with several others to tamper with documents on 1MDB.

He also denied ever meeting former PetroSaudi executive Xavier Justo, but admitted to meeting with Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown on several occasions in Singapore, London and Malaysia.

"Whatever (documents) I got was whatever Clare put up on Sarawak Report. It is what everyone else has," Pua said, denying that he had seen or received any documents from Justo.

Meanwhile, Ong said checks on the Immigration Department website showed that the individuals embroiled in the 1MDB scandal such as former CEO Datuk Shahrol Helmi and current CEO Arulkanda Kandasamy were not on the no-fly list.

"I found that their IC's are not among those barred from leaving the country. If people like Tony Pua can be barred because of the ongoing 1MDB investigations, how come key figures who have not answered questions at the Public Accounts Committee hearing not been barred?

"If the authorities are to be consistent, those directly implicated in the 1MDB scandal should be barred, and not MPs who are playing a check-and-balance role," said Ong.

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