Friday, October 2, 2009

Passport bungle: Waytha rubbishes Hisham's claims - Malaysiakini

Hindraf leader P Waythamoorthy today rubbished Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein's denial that the Putrajaya administration revoked his international passport.

The London-based activist also denied Hishammuddin's claim that he had surrendered his passport to the Malaysian high commission in Britain.

He slammed Hishammuddin for allegedly parroting lies spread by the previous home minister Syed Hamid Albar that his passport was not revoked.

NONEWaythamoorthy said he has two official letters from the British Home Office to prove the cancellation of his valid passport.

He said the British Home Office had submitted to his London solicitor a written letter confirming that his international passport was revoked by the Malaysian government on April 21, 2008.

Waythamoorthy added the matter was raised at the British high commission in Kuala Lumpur and the British immigration acted upon that communication and refused him exit via Gatwick airport.

"On April 21, the day it was confirmed that my passport was revoked, the home office withheld and impounded my passport upon request by the Malaysian government," he said.

He said upon receiving the confirmation letter from the home office, his solicitor - Imran Khan and Solicitors - had written a letter to the Malaysian high commission seeking answers for the sudden and unexpected revocation of his valid passport.

Passport 'foolishly sent to lawyer'

The solicitor's legal letter (letter before action or letter of demand in Malaysia) to the home office was sent in view of initiating a British court action against the Malaysian government.

Waythamoorthy said the Malaysian high commission however failed to reply and explain professionally the questions that were raised in the letter of demand.

Instead, he said the high commission acted foolishly by dispatching his passport to his solicitor's office.

The high commission, said Waythamoorthy, had delivered the document by hand, perhaps thinking it would end the matter and stop him from instituting legal action against the Putrajaya administration.

Shocked by the Malaysian government's action in returning the passport, his solicitor then sent it back to the high commission office.

He said the solicitor had enclosed a covering letter seeking answers, explanations and an apology from the Malaysian high commissioner over the matter.

"The Malaysian government's action of re-sending my passport through the back door after revoking it was an act of cowardice of the highest order.

"The Putrajaya administration cowardly did it to avoid responsibility and accountability because the then home minister knew he had bungled up the matter. Thus I was made the country's first political refugee in Britain by the Umno government," he said.

Detrimental to diplomatic ties

Waythamoorthy said he was not pursuing any legal action on the matter yet because he does not wish to embarrass the Malaysian government "for all its lies".

He said it would also affect the diplomatic relations between London and Putrajaya.

He challenged Hishammuddin to confirm that the Malaysian government did not revoke his passport and that the British government had lied.

"Hishammuddin should confirm that the British government lied to me when the London Home Office told me that the Malaysian government had conveyed the information on the cancellation of my passport to its high commission in Malaysia and sought the return of my passport.

"Would he be agreeable to choose London as the forum of convenience for my civil suit against the Malaysian and British governments?" he asked.