The Sarawak government has continued to ban peninsula-based opposition leaders from entering the state, with DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke being the latest to be turned back.

However, DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang was spared and he successfully entered the Land of the Hornbills, which is on the cusp of its state electionon May 7.

Loke said the DAP entourage was meant to assist the party’s machinery in preparing for the looming state election.

“I am being sent back now…They (immigration) say I was in the blacklist as ordered by Sarawak authorities,” Loke, who is Seremban MP, toldMalaysiakini when contacted.

He and Lim were entering the state via Miri this morning.

Loke joins a list of victims of Sarawak’s autonomous Immigration powers, which opposition leaders allege is being abused to keep them out of the state election campaign.

Meanwhile, Lim lamented that he was not able to meet Loke before the latter was sent back to Kuala Lumpur.

The Gelang Patah MP said he was told that he needed ‘authorisation’ to do so, labelling the move as a ‘bureaucratic maze’.

The veteran political leader then called on Chief Minister Adenan Satem to review the ban as Loke had come for legitimate political activities that are allowed under the law.

“We agree with Sarawak’s autonomy, but not abuse of power. He (Adenan) should be more concerned about promoting healthy democracy in Sarawak and Malaysia,” Lim told Malaysiakini.

“Remove the blanket ban on Pakatan Harapan MPs so that his victory will be a democratic victory.”

Lim also also confirmed that he would go ahead with his programmes in Sarawak.

So far, more than 30 barred

Yesterday, Umno man Jamal Md Yunos and Penang executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin were barred from entering the state.

So far, more than 30 opposition lawmakers, activists and academicians have been banned from entering Sarawak, including PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu.

Opposition lawmakers have contended that travellers engaged in legitimate political activities are allowed entry under Sections 66 and 67 of the Immigration Act and they are considering taking legal action against the state.

The Sarawak Immigration Department has thus far declined to reveal the full list of those barred from entering the state.