PETALING JAYA: A member of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has urged home minister Hamzah Zainudin to intervene in the case of Simon Adavize Momoh, a detained Nigerian who is facing deportation.
Noor Aziah Mohd Awal, a child commissioner, pointed out that Hamzah had the power to reverse the immigration director-general’s decision on Momoh’s deportation and his visa cancellation.
She told FMT that the Office of Children’s Commissioners had sent a letter to Hamzah and the Prime Minister’s Office in the past week to revoke the move.
Letters were also sent to women, family and community development minister Rina Harun, as well as housing and local government minister Zuraida Kamaruddin.
“They (Rina and Zuraida) are women ministers and we hope that they would be able to feel for Simon’s wife and children,” said Noor Aziah.
According to her, Rina was the only government authority who responded and promised to follow up on the matter with the home ministry, for the sake of Momoh’s two daughters and keeping his family together.
She also stressed that the director-general must issue orders on a case-by-case basis, instead of assuming every foreigner was the same.
“Simon has been married to a Malaysian and lived here for the past few years. His children are also very young and must be very disturbed by the detention and possible deportation of their father.
“Even common criminals, who are in prison for theft, are given the chance to regularly meet their children and spouse,” she said, referring to the fact that Momoh had not been in contact with his wife until last weekend.
Noor Aziah hoped that the government would reconsider Momoh’s case, adding that it must resolve issues of unlawful detention before even thinking of a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.
Momoh has been married to Low Kar Hui for the past eight years, owning a valid long-term spouse visa. He was arrested at a roadblock in Cheras in the early hours of March 15 on suspicion of drink-driving.
He pleaded guilty in court the same day, paid the RM12,000 fine and Low was told he would be released at 5pm. However, he was detained at the Semenyih detention centre after that and his one-day imprisonment now allows for his visa to be cancelled.
Momoh’s deportation order was emailed to Low on April 14, asking his wife to make arrangements for his flight back to Nigeria. According to the order, Momoh was considered a prohibited immigrant.
Yesterday, his lawyer, V Vemal Arasan, claimed that Momoh was forced to thumbprint unknown documents, on the pretense that the papers were for his release.
The Nigerian national only found out the documents were to acknowledge his deportation and visa cancellation when he met Vemal last Friday.
The next hearing on his unlawful detention will take place tomorrow afternoon at the Shah Alam High Court. A judicial review has also been filed against the immigration director-general, set for May 4.