Revoking the work permit of Bangladeshi migrant Rayhan Kabir, who appeared in the Al-Jazeera documentary "Locked Up in Malaysia's Lockdown" has been described as "blatant abuse of power".
Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) coordinator, Zaid Malek, said that through no fault of his own, the 25-year old migrant worker has now been rendered undocumented by the authorities, reported the New Straits Times today.
In the documentary, Al Jazeera was critical of Malaysian government's treatment of migrants during the coronavirus pandemic. Pakistani, Indonesian, Bangladeshi and Malaysians were interviewed in the documentary.
However, Malaysian authorities issued public notice last week seeking information on Rayhan Kabir. They also said Al Jazeera reporters will be interrogated for investigation.
On Sunday, Malaysia's Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador revealed that the Immigration Department had revoked the Bangladeshi's work permit and that Rayhan is now an undocumented migrant and as such would be deported if found.
Zaid Malek of LFL said "the extent that the authorities are willing to go in order to hunt down one man for merely speaking up his experience of injustice to the media is alarming," the New Straits Times reports.
"The revocation of the Bangladeshi's permit is a blatant abuse of power and amounts to flouting of the law by the Immigration Department.
"It has been clearly stated on the Section 9(1)(c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 that it only allows the Director General of Immigration to cancel a permit if it is prejudicial to public order, public security, public health or morality in Malaysia.
"It is inconceivable that the mere action of highlighting his plight to the media would fall under any of the categories listed under section 9(1)(c)," he said in a statement.
Zaid claimed that it was as though the Immigration Department was trying to legitimise a witch hunt on the said man.
"This act only serves to strengthen the allegation that migrants are being unfairly treated and targeted by the authorities.
"The illegitimate manhunt and persecution of this innocent man must not be allowed to continue.
"We demand the authorities to immediately halt its unjustified and unlawful pursuit of this man and strongly urge the government to immediately step in and stop this clear abuse of power by the authorities," he urged.