By K. Parkaran | Free Malaysia Today

MA Quayum with his wife, Shahamin Ara Begum, daughter Arnita Tasnim Ankaur, and lawyer Edmund Bon.

The family of the Bangladeshi politician who was released from detention by the immigration department yesterday is pleading with the government to reinstate their Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) visas which were cancelled after his arrest on Jan 12.

The family of three thanked Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail for MA Quayum’s release but said it was regrettable that their MM2H visas were cancelled.

“We sincerely hope that the Malaysian government will continue to uphold and respect the rights of refugees and politically persecuted victims not to be returned home where their lives are in danger.

“Nevertheless, we are encouraged by the decision to release Quayum pending the decision of the courts on his habeas corpus application and the determination of our appeal to the Home Minister on our MM2H visas. We hope to get them back,” the family said in a statement to FMT.

Quayum, his wife Shahamin Ara Begum, and daughter Arnita Tasnim Ankaur have been in Malaysia since 2013. They have valid refugee status under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

They subsequently obtained MM2H visas.

The family of the 61-year-old Bangladeshi Nationalist Party (BNP) leader said they were extremely grateful to the police, Home Minister, and Immigration Department for treating Quayum well during his arrest and detention.

“We also thank the people of Malaysia for understanding our plight and accepting our request for time to be resettled in a third country as we face a real danger to our lives if we return home,” the statement read.

On Jan 31, the Kuala Lumpur High Court compelled the Immigration Department to abide by a Jan 18 court order staying his deportation pending the disposal of his April 5 habeas corpus application.

The family had appealed to the government for Quayum’s release after stating that his life would be in danger if he was sent back home.

Meanwhile, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) thanked the government for Quayum’s release and expressed hope that the authorities would not resort to threats or intimidation against the politician.

“We hope the Malaysian government will continue to respect and implement the non-refoulement principle by not sending Quayum back to Bangladesh under any circumstances as his life will be in danger,” Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy said in a statement.