Muhyiddin’s travel ban lifted

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The travel ban imposed against former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin has been lifted, the Kuala Lumpur High Court heard today. 

Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan told the court the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had notified the immigration department that the ban was lifted on March 22.

Shamsul, who is representing the government in Bersatu’s legal challenge, said since the ban has been revoked, Muhyiddin and his party’s bid to challenge it has now been rendered academic.

The Bersatu president, however, is still restricted from travelling as his passport is held by the Sessions Court after he was charged with corrupt practices last month.

“He (Muhyiddin) was charged last month, and the court had ordered him to surrender his passport as part of his bail conditions,” he was quoted as saying by news portal Free Malaysia Today.

Shamsul said Muhyiddin may request the court for temporary release of his passport should he wish to travel.

Muhyiddin, who is Perikatan Nasional chairman, had previously asserted that the travel ban was wrongly imposed on him and that he was not notified of it.

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The Pagoh MP also said the ban was aimed at tarnishing his reputation and made it seem as if he had committed a crime and was seeking to abscond.

Bersatu has also filed a bid to challenge MACC’s decision to freeze its bank accounts, on grounds that it was done in bad faith.

Lawyer Rosli Dahlan, appearing for the party, told the court there were still “live issues” that needed to be ventilated at a substantive judicial review hearing.

He said the court must allow the case to proceed to the next stage.

Rosli said that the immigration department had filed affidavits alleging that the travel ban was requested by MACC but did not provide sufficient justification as to why the prohibition was necessary.

“They (immigration department) only passed the blame to MACC.

“There was also no notice informing (Muhyiddin) that he was banned from travelling until he discovered it himself when he wanted to go and speak at an overseas forum,” he said.

Besides that, the lawyer said MACC’s decision to freeze Bersatu’s accounts was made in bad faith and the court should inquire into the agency’s decision-making process.

Rosli also said chief commissioner Azam Baki and his senior officer Hishamuddin Hashim were “problematic” individuals as Azam was “previously implicated” in “shares trading”, and Hishamuddin in the “Teoh Beng Hock case”.

“Nothing has been said about their ‘misconduct’ under this government,” said Rosli.

He said the investigations, account-freezing, and prosecution brought against Muhyiddin and Bersatu had been done collaterally by the government to destroy the opposition party.

“The opposition cannot be killed, or else democracy will die,” he added.

Justice Ahmad Kamal Shahid refrained the lawyer from making a “political speech” in court.

In response, Shamsul said MACC’s freezing order cannot be reviewed by the courts, as it was part and parcel of an investigation process.

Kamal fixed May 17 for a decision on whether to allow Bersatu’s bid to commence judicial review. – TMI