Monday, May 19, 2008

Waytha (HINDRAF): Syed Hamid lied about my passport


K Kabilan

Hindu Rights Action Force chairperson P Waythmoorthy today accused the Malaysian government of lying over the status of his passport.


He said that it was "absolutely ridiculous and a blatant lie" for the Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar to claim that his passport was not revoked.

waythamoorthy and malaysia passportWaythamoorthy was also upset with Syed Hamid in shrugging off the issue by stating that a misunderstanding could have occurred over the status of the passport.

Syed Hamid had earlier said that "probably because the passport had expired".

"How can he lie like this? Aren't his officers briefing him on what's happening to Malaysians abroad?" asked Waythamoorthy.

He said that his passport was to expire in 2010 and that he, of all persons, would know the validity of his travel document.

"The problem started when I returned to London from Zurich on April 21 and was informed by the UK immigration officer at Gatwick Airport that the Malaysian government had revoked my passport," he told Malaysiakini.

"Is Syed Hamid saying that the British immigration authorities are lying?" he asked when contacted by telephone today.

Waythamoorthy had revealed the cancellation of his travel document in a press statement on Friday.

On the same day, Syed Hamid, when asked to comment on the issue, rejected the claims, stating that Waythamoorthy's passport had not been revoked.

Syed Hamid added that the "misunderstanding" was probably because Waythamoorthy's passport had expired and he could have his passport renewed at the Malaysian High Commission in London.

Forcing his return

Responding to the minister's remarks today, Waythamoorthy said Syed Hamid was trying to mislead the public on the matter.

"I'm indeed surprised that the senior cabinet minister would issue a statement based on probabilities without verifying the facts..."

Waythamoorty said he was given a "fresh leave to enter and remain in the United Kingdom for six months" upon his return from India on April 2.

"It is a known fact that no country would admit a person into its territory without a six months' validity period on the passport.

"For that matter, Switzerland wouldn't have admitted me into its country on the April 17, nor would any airline allow me to board the flight, without a six months' validity," he said.

Waythamoorthy, who is in self-imposed exile in United Kingdom since the government's crackdown on Hindraf last November, said the government was seeking to lure him back to this country to detain him under the Internal Security Act.

Five other Hindraf leaders, including the movement's most popular face and Waythamoorthy's brother Uthayakumar, are presently being held without trial since Dec 13.

"It is obvious my traveling to lobby for Hindraf and the ethnic minority Indian community had caused the Malaysian government to revoke my passport to curtail my movement," he said.