After 1,086 Myanmar nationals repatriated, High Court extends order to suspend further deportations until March 9 decision on lawsuit

An aerial view of the Kuala Lumpur High Court April 23, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
An aerial view of the Kuala Lumpur High Court April 23, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — The High Court here today stayed the Malaysian government’s deportation of the remainder of the original 1,200 Myanmar nationals named in a lawsuit until the matter was decided.

Yesterday, High Court judge Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya granted a stay order to temporarily suspend for just one day the government’s plans to deport the 1,200 Myanmar citizens, as she was to hear the lawsuit this morning at 10am.

The Malaysian government had been planning to repatriate the 1,200 Myanmar citizens on three navy ships provided by the Myanmar military yesterday afternoon.

The Immigration Department of Malaysia yesterday announced — just hours later after the court’s stay order was issued — that it had along with other Malaysian authorities and the Myanmar embassy successfully repatriated 1,086 Myanmar citizens whom it described as “illegal immigrants” to Myanmar.

This morning, in an online hearing from 10am to about 1pm, the High Court had heard the lawsuit filed through judicial review by rights group Amnesty International Malaysia and Asylum Access Malaysia.

The hearing was on the leave for judicial review application by both Amnesty International Malaysia and Asylum Access Malaysia.

Following the hearing, the two groups’ lawyer New Sin Yew told Malay Mail that the High Court has fixed March 9 to deliver its decision on the leave application.

“Meanwhile extension of the Interim Stay granted yesterday is allowed for the remainder from the 1,200 who have not been deported till March 9,” he said.

New confirmed that the issue of the Malaysian government's deportation of the 1,086 individuals — despite the court’s stay order yesterday — was raised in the hearing today, but said the High Court will first decide on the application for leave for judicial review before deciding whether to ask for an explanation on the deportation move yesterday.

In the judicial review application by applicants Asylum Access Berhad and Aimal Sdn Bhd, the Malaysian Immigration director-general, the home minister and the federal government were named as the three respondents.

The judicial review bid by Amnesty International Malaysia and Asylum Access Malaysia includes the names and details of three United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) document holders and 17 minors who had at least one parent still in Malaysia.

The two groups had wanted the court to cancel the respondents’ decision to deport the three UNHCR document holders recognised as refugees, quash the respondents’ decision to deport the 17 children, and quash the respondents’ decision to deport the 1,200 detained Myanmar nationals back to their home country.

The two rights groups also asked the court to issue three separate prohibition orders against the respondents disallowing the deporting of the three UNHCR-recognised refugees, the 17 children and the 1,200 persons.


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