Anwar Ibrahim, the popular leader of the opposition party in Malaysia, is “shocked” that he was denied entry into Japan on Sunday. He says he was going on a personal visit to the country when immigration officers at the Narita International Airport said they cannot allow him to proceed because of his 1999 conviction for sodomy and corruption.
“I protest in the strongest terms this unwarranted action of the Japanese government in refusing me entry and denying my legitimate rights to travel freely without let or hindrance,” Ibrahim said in a blog post. He added that he told immigration he has actually visited Japan three times since 2006 and that the Japanese embassy in Malaysia said he will encounter no problems when going to Japan, but the officials at the airport told him they were responding to a more recent report. He questions why a democratic country like Japan would take an “unprecedented action under such tenuous grounds”. He is highly suspicious that there are “hidden hands” at work to warrant such an action.
His 2006 conviction was seen by many in Malaysia as a frame-up by his enemies to quell his growing popularity among the masses. He served six years in jail and was removed from the longtime ruling Barisan Nasional party. He founded the opposition Justice Party, who claim that the Malaysian government may be behind this latest move. They say the government is trying to stop his political comeback by another campaign of false charges. The Foreign Ministry in Malaysia still has not released a statement while the Japanese embassy in Malaysia is still waiting for a report from Tokyo before issuing any statement.
[ via ABC ]