Artist Fahmi Reza says he is on Immigration blacklist, not allowed to leave Malaysia

·2-min read
Authorities have banned political artist and activist Fahmi Reza from leaving the country. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Authorities have banned political artist and activist Fahmi Reza from leaving the country. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — After being summoned by police for the second time in a month, political artist and activist Fahmi Reza said the authorities have banned him from leaving the country.

Fahmi, whose latest alleged offence was uploading a satirical picture of an ape dressed in royal regalia, also said on social media that he was blacklisted by the Immigration Department from renewing his passport.

“I was informed last night that my name has been blacklisted and I cannot leave the country.

“I am blocked from renewing my passport. The Immigration Department said the block was ordered by the police in Bukit Aman/PDRM,” he said in a Twitter post.

Fahmi said he still hopes to obtain permission from the authorities for a trip to Europe next month where he will be involved in a theatre performance.

“I am now working on getting clearance from Bukit Aman before my scheduled flight. If a convicted criminal with 42 corruption charges against him can get clearance to leave the country, I hope Bukit Aman can give me the clearance too. No double standards,” he said.

He was ostensibly referring to former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is facing a total of 42 criminal charges for money laundering, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust. Last year, he had applied to the Courts to leave for Singapore and was approved.

Fahmi’s post was accompanied by the hashtag #SatireIsNotACrime.

Yesterday, Fahmi was summoned by the police for his latest controversial post which was deemed seditious.

He has been in trouble with the police before for similar offences.

Last month, he was charged with insulting Islamist party PAS by posting a picture on Facebook linking the party with alcohol.

He was charged under the Communications and Multimedia Act, with the prosecution contending that the post that he uploaded on June 1, 2021 was insulting.

Human rights groups have previously criticised the government for hauling Fahmi to court, labelling it as an act to curtail freedom of expression in the country.

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