KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 ― A valid passport does not give a Malaysian citizen the right to travel overseas, the Court of Appeal ruled today in a DAP lawmaker’s challenge of a travel ban.
News portal Malaysiakini reported that the three-member bench led by Justice Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh also ruled that the Federal Constitution was silent on the right to travel abroad, saying that Article 9 on the right to freedom of movement was limited to movement within Malaysia.
“All the points raised by the appellant were not susceptible to judicial review. All the questions that were raised in this appeal lacked merit for this court to formally interfere with the learned (High Court) judge's decision not to grant a certiorari,” Justice Tan Sri Idrus Harun, who wrote the unanimous decision, was quoted saying.
Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua filed an application for judicial review in August 2015 of the Immigration Department’s decision to ban him from traveling abroad, after he was prohibited the month before from travelling to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, amid a police investigation under Section 124B of the Penal Code that deals with activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy.
The High Court here, however, ruled in July last year that traveling overseas was not a constitutional right.
The Immigration Department later lifted the travel ban on the Opposition lawmaker last October.
Idrus reportedly said today that Article 5 of the Federal Constitution that protects personal liberty only related to challenges on unlawful detention, in relation to the argument that the travel ban violated that provision.
Pua’s lawyer Gobind Singh Deo reportedly said his client would appeal to the Federal Court, saying that the appellate court had interpreted Article 5 narrowly.