Kuala Lumpur, May 17: Malaysian Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar has said that the Government had not revoked HINDRAF chairman P. Waythamoorthy's passport, and that he was still in possession of his passport in London.
HINDRAF is "Hindu Rights Action Force" in Malaysia that protects the rights of the Hindus there. Rebutting Amnesty International's claims that the Kuala Lumpur had revoked Albar's passport, the Home Minister said: "I am surprised by this report. I would assume that Amnesty would check its facts before making such a statement to the press as such claims can be sensationalised.
He said the "misunderstanding" was probably because Waythamoorthy's passport had expired and he could have his passport renewed at the Malaysian High Commission in London.
"I am not really aware of what has happened to Waythamoorthy, but as far as I am concerned, the Government has not ordered for his passport to be revoked. If he wants to return to Malaysia, he can do so," The Star quoted him as saying last evening in Putrajaya.
Quoting Amnesty's Washington-based Asia-Pacific advocacy director T Kumar, a section of the western press had reported that Waythamoorthy's visit to the US had been put off because "of his passport's cancellation." According to the report, the HINDRAF leader had planned to visit Washington for holding talks with leaders of the US Congress, the Amnesty and other rights groups to highlight alleged discriminatory policies against Indians in Malaysia as well as the arrests under Internal Security Act of five senior movement members.
Waythamoorthy claimed that British immigration officers informed him that his passport was revoked upon his return to London from Geneva after visiting the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights office there. But Home Minister Syed Hamid said that the Government would not revoke the passport of its citizen unless the person relinquished his citizenship and when this occurred, all documents to prove his Malaysian citizenship must be surrendered.