PUTRAJAYA - The Immigration Department has revoked the passports of sex blogger Alvin Tan and activist Ali Abd Jalil, both of whom have sought refuge in foreign countries.
Immigration Department director-general Datuk Mustafa Ibrahim said the move was necessary so as to serve as a warning to those who insult the courts, the rulers and Islam.
"We have also blacklisted their names from the system and we will notify them via official letters that will be sent to their Malaysian addresses," he told a press conference here, Monday.
Without quoting a specific clause, Mustafa referred the decision to a notice on the back of Malaysian passports which state that the passport is Government property and that the Government reserves the right to revoke it at anytime.
"We are also supporting the Home Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi's call and this decision is in line with what the public has demanded," he said.
Mustafa, however, said that the revocation of Tan and Ali's passports did not mean that they had been stripped of their citizenships. He said the two could still return to Malaysia, but with different documents.
"They will have to apply for an emergency certificate in the respective countries in order to come back," he said.
Tan and Ali are in the United States and Sweden respectively.
Tan, 26 and former girlfirned Vivian Lee, 25 claimed trial last year to three charges under the Film Censorship Act, Sedition Act and the Penal Code.
Both still face two charges under the Film Censorship Act and Sedition Act for a "Ramadan greeting" that was posted on their blog last year.
Social activist Ali, 29, is facing sedition charges for allegedly insulting the royalty.
When asked if both would be arrested upon their arrival in Malaysia, Mustafa said that decision was not within their jurisdiction. He added said that the Government was being "considerate" in handling the case when asked as to why it had taken time in making a decision on the duo.