High Court to decide on Maria Chin's challenge against her travel ban in April

KHAIRAH N. KARIM

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court will decide on April 27 on a judicial review application by Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah to challenge the Director-General of the Immigration Department’s order barring her from travelling overseas.

Judge Datuk Nik Hasmat Nik Mohamad fixed the date after both parties submitted their arguments before him today.

Lawyer Datuk Gurdial Singh Nijar, who acted for Maria, submitted that there is no power under the Immigration Act to impose a travel ban on the applicant (Maria).

"In that regard, we submit that the respondents have no jurisdiction under the Immigration Act or Passport Act to impose a travel ban and have thus acted ultra vires," he said.

Gurdial also submitted that there is no provision under the two Acts which stipulates the power of the Minister or Director-General of the Immigration Department to impose a travel ban on a Malaysian citizen.

Meanwhile, senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan, in his submissions, said the application should be dismissed on grounds that the matter has now become academic.

"For the reasons set out, we submit that the application for judicial review be dismissed with cost," he said.

On Oct 25, last year, the court granted Maria leave to initiate a judicial review naming the Director-General of the Immigration Department and the Home Minister as respondents in the application.

She had, in her application, claimed that she was informed of her travel ban just shortly before she was to board a flight to South Korea on May 15 last year, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

She said authorities had failed to take into account that she was travelling to South Korea to attend a human rights conference and receive an award for Bersih 2.0.