“I am not really aware of what has happened to Waythamoorthy, but 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.”
Former Home Minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar tells reporters on 16 May 2008 that the government had not revoked Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy’s passport.
Commenting on an AFP report that Waythamoorthy’s visit to the US had been put off because of his passport’s cancellation, Syed Hamid said he was surprised by these claims which had “no truth”. The Hindraf leader had said British immigration officers informed him, upon his return to London from Geneva after visiting the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights office there, that his passport was revoked. (Source: Hindraf leader ‘still has his passport’, The Star, 17 May 2008)
“The Ministry of Home Affairs has been informed by the Immigration Department of Malaysia that the Malaysian international passport issued to Waytha Moorthy s/o Ponnusamy is still active in our passport and travel document system. In other words, the Malaysian government has never made any cancellation to the mentioned travel document.”
Syed Hamid once again denies that the government had revoked Waythamoorthy’s passport. In a statement, he said the Hindraf leader was overseas and was still free to travel internationally. The home minister suggested that Waythamoorthy’s passport could have expired and that the issue could have been caused by a misunderstanding about the status of the travel document. (Source: Waytha’s passport still active: Syed Hamid, Malaysiakini, 26 May 2008)
“I’m prepared to take responsibility for my actions. They can detain me under the ISA [Internal Security Act] if they want to. But first, I want my passport back. And the government owes me an apology.”
In Singapore, having travelled from London under the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Waythamoorthy said his passport had been taken dishonourably from him in April 2008 and had to be returned in an honourable manner. He said during the humiliating experience, he had to seek confirmation from the British authorities that his passport had been revoked and when they did, he was forced to seek political asylum. He was in Singapore to meet his family — his wife, seven-year-old daughter and his twin sister — who had come from Malaysia to be with him. (Source: Malaysian in political asylum: Waytha wants to come home, Malay Mail, 28 Sept 2009)
“But if he says he is willing to face the music, then by all means, balik-lah (come back). I don’t think anyone would stop him from doing so.”
Syed Hamid again insisting that nobody was stopping Waythamoorthy from returning home to Malaysia, saying that he was “after all, a Malaysian citizen”. He said he did not order Waythamoorthy’s passport to be revoked, and had instead ordered for his passport to be returned to him.
Syed Hamid said he was subsequently informed that Waythamoorthy had surrendered his passport to the Malaysian High Commission in the UK via his lawyer. (Source: Malaysian in political asylum: Waytha wants to come home, Malay Mail, 28 Sept 2009)
“His passport is still valid, his passport expires on Oct 17, 2010. As far as I am concerned, 2010 means that his passport has not yet ended and we did not confiscate his passport but he gave his passport to our High Commission in United Kingdom…Yes, he was the one who surrendered the passport.”
Current Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein tells reporters that Waythamoorthy need only to return to the High Commission and claim his passport. He said the Hindraf leader’s passport had neither been confiscated nor cancelled, and that it was still in the custody of the High Commission in London.
Hishammuddin claimed Waythamoorthy could have been too ashamed to get his passport as he had surrendered the document himself and perhaps felt that it was a better offer staying overseas. (Source: Home Ministry says Hindraf man’s passport not cancelled, The Malaysian Insider, 30 Sept 2009)
“The passport was cancelled as the Malaysian authorities were seeking your client’s arre[st] to face criminal charges.”
“A request was made by the Malaysian authorities for the return of your client’s passport on 2 July 2008, no reason was given for why they wanted the passport returned to them, Malaysian passports are of the property of the issuing authority and not of the individual holder and therefore this is why we intend to return the passport to them.”
The reply from the UK Border Agency, in a letter dated 23 Sept 2008, to questions from Waythamoorthy’s lawyers on the cancellation of his passport. In the reply, the agency said the British Embassy in Kuala Lumpur had been notified of the cancellation in a letter from the Malaysian authorities dated 14 March 2008. (Source: UK Home Office, Border Agency, 23 Sept 2008, as posted in Sincerely, Malaysian Heart blog)
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