KUCHING: The process of granting entry to Malayan politicians or individuals deemed to be extremists is based on merit.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said this when commenting on the state’s immigration autonomy.

He pointed out although individuals who were previously barred from entering the state were granted reprieve due to their position in the new federal government, they are advised to not abuse it.

“If a person is an extremist, yes, we will bar them from entering Sarawak. The system is on a merit basis,” he told reporters during a press conference at the sidelines of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) convention at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK).

When pressed on whether barring Malayan politicians, especially from the opposing party constitutes an abuse of power, Abang Johari disagreed.

“It is not an abuse of power and this all depends on how the person behaves. I have told Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that there must be respect from both sides.

“But if you come here and say you want to conquer Sarawak, then the intention is already not right.”

Abang Johari said that the state government welcomes cabinet Ministers who are coming to Sarawak to exercise their duty.

“Do confine it to your official capacity. If you are barred then it’s probably because you have been barred before, we keep a record of the individuals (who have been barred previously).

“But if you come here to give us money (funding), then why not,” the chief minister said in jest.