Court Ruling Pending On Ambiga's Leave Application

Bersih 2.0 chief Ambiga Sreenevesan will know today whether or not she can pursue a review of her deportation and refusal of entry into Sarawak during the state election last April.

It is understood that Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Justice Rohana Yusuf will have to consider preliminary objections raised by Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud - one of three respondents in Ambiga's suit - before she can allow the case to proceed.

Rohana, who spent about an hour-and-a-half listening to submissions from both sides in her chambers today, is expected to announce her decision at 9am.

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Ambiga, a former Bar Council chairperson, filed her judicial review application last May 26, naming Taib, the Malaysian Immigration Department and other relevant departments as respondents in her suit.

Her application for leave was first heard by the High Court last July 12.

In her application, Ambiga is seeking to quash the notice of refusal of entry issued by the Sarawak Immigration director in denying her entry into the state last April 15, a day before polling day during the Sarawak state election.

She is also seeking an order from the High Court to compel the respondents to allow her entry into the state, on top of damages, costs and further relief deemed fit by the court.

James Khong, who with Tommy Thomas are Ambiga's co-counsel, said Taib maintains that he is not a state authority who should be named in the application.

Taib, who is represented by Sarawak legal adviser JC Fong and Sahari Ali, also argued that the issue cannot be reviewed under the Immigration Act.

The Immigration Department is represented by senior federal counsel Azizah Nawawi.

Ambiga was the fourth activist barred from entering Sarawak over the course of the state election's 10-day campaign period.

Three other activists, Steven Ng, Wong Chin Huat (right) and Haris Ibrahim were similarly stopped at the Kuching Airport and sent back to Kuala Lumpur on the next flight.

The deportation exercise however did not end there, with Malaysian Election Observation Network coordinator Ong Boon Keong being the latest to be sent back last May 24, more than a month after the state election.

Ong was detained by Kuching Immigration officers during a visit to Bengoh, and was deported back to Kuala Lumpur the same night.

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