Saturday, May 17, 2008

Malaysia says it hasn't revoked Waytha's passport

Malaysia says it hasn't revoked Hindraf leader's passport

PTI May 17, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian government has rejected "claims" by a leading global human rights group that it has revoked the passport of an ethnic Indian leader, who has been living in London on self-imposed exile.

Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar said there was no truth in claims made by the Amnesty International that the passport of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) Chairman P Wayathamoorthy has been revoked.

Hindraf had spearheaded protests by ethnic Indians against the community's alleged marginalisation. Five of its members had been detained for holding an "illegal" rally.

Notwithstanding the minister's remarks, Wayathamoorthy's wife Eashwari also claimed that that her husband's travel document has been revoked.

"When he flew to London from Geneva, the immigration authorities there told him that Malaysia had revoked his passport. He was held at Heathrow airport and allowed to enter temporarily," she said.

Syed Hamid, however, said he was surprised by the Amnesty report. "... as far as I am concerned, the Government has not ordered for his passport to be revoked. If he wants to return to Malaysia, he can do so," he told 'The Star' daily.

He said the government would not revoke the passport of any of its national unless the person relinquishes his citizenship and when this occurs, all documents to prove his Malaysian citizenship must be surrendered.

He said the "misunderstanding" occurred probably because Waythamoorthy's passport had expired and that he could have his passport renewed at the Malaysian mission in London.

Eashwari said she was "happy with Syed Hamid's statement as it can be grounds for her husband to renew his passport in London," adding that at the moment he was not able to travel anywhere.

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