35 Days Of Living Hell In Malaysia

Days of living hell

Let me describe in this post what is meant by “5 days of living hell” that popular American singer, Maggie Lindemann was subjected to. She was locked away in an immigration detention for 5 days (based on her public instagram post) for her infraction. It was reported, quote Malaysia Immigration:

“The Americans were fined RM 300 each”

and the DG “denied” that she was detained for 5 days. However the 5 days detention has already being widely reported by many international media organizations. Clearly this director of immigration was lying.

This post will talks about the physical building and the environment owned and run by Malaysia Immigration. The facilities in the Johor state is called Pekan Nanas Immigration Depot. Pekan Nanas is a Malay word which means Pineapple town. Pekan Nanas depot is in Johor state while Maggie may be locked away in another equivalent facilities in another part of Malaysia. Regardless of which facilities, they operates with similar SOP and the conditions are similar throughout.

The name Pekan Nanas may concoct a picture of tranquil vegetation landscape in surrounding with flowers and flowing stream but in reality is a place of living hell. Those who have to spend their days inside and cut-off from civilization will attest to that. You will see why as you read on.

The criminalization process of this living hell

Regardless of what a foreigner has committed that can be linked or tagged an immigration offence, you will be at the mercy of the immigration officer. There are already many documented cases on record involving Americans like Maggie, Singaporeans like Joshua or Filipinos like those mothers and their young children to dispute on that. Even for simple infraction like overstaying for a few days can land you in such situation. There are even cases where a migrant worker’s passport was thrown away by a police officer and arrested as without valid documentation. These are the cases that I have encountered and heard from the migrant person himself during my detention inside.

Because it is an immigration offence, she will be subjected to handcuff together with other arrested immigration offenders and goes through the immigration Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) before you will be locked behind the cage just like every other immigration offenders. Because every day there are tens or hundreds arrested, the SOP operation requires to register every immigration offenders is like herding animals.

They will be linked together by handcuffs all the time whenever they are move from one location to another. Everyone who are arrested will have all 10 fingers ink-printed and mugshots taken in the registering process. So instead of hearing anyone from the Immigration telling you something else, this is the SOP for arrest under their immigration laws.

Total humiliations and helplessness

Before being locked behind cages, the detainees will goes through a registering process with the office administration within the facilities. Here in this process, you will be assigned a number which you will be known throughout your detention. Because these are immigration officers/guards that are assigned to keep you under control, they will need you to fear them. So during the process, you will be screamed at, cursed at or you might be beaten (targets are picked randomly).

Then you have to surrendered all your belongings and left with the only set of clothes and nothing else till your family visit you and bring you the necessary hygiene items. You will spend days without showers and brushing of teeth as well as change of fresh clothes for days. Immigration have claimed to my lawyer that personal hygiene items were issued to me. What was given to substantiate their claim was some “items issuance forms” showing acknowledgement by only the guards. These documents upon review are full of errors and discrepancies.

Once the detainees had completed the registering process, they will be subjected to a full naked body search and naked body squat torture. That ends the process and you will be behind caged cell and cut off from civilization. You will not be able to communicate with anyone who knows you till God knows when for some of them. Some have languished inside for years with no news of their family or friends. No phone calls allowed from the time you are arrested and you are under constant watch that this is not breached.

No exception to Standard Operating Procedures

This SOP applies in every detention centers and Maggie have truly correctly express that it is 5 days of living hell. It is the same experience for my 35 days detention. Then there is another Singaporean sharing the same experience and even sued the Immigration in court. It is the same for few Filipinos mums and their children and a NGO has to intervene and a complaint made to the Home Minister.

This is a Google map aerial shot of the Pekan Nanas Compound that is hidden from the general public

What the Immigration detention center looks like

From the above Google satellite picture, we can see more details of the Immigration detention center. It consists of 4 blocks of two-storey male detention cells and 1 block of female detention cell. The male detention cells and the female detention cells are in separate area.

Through the main entrance, detainees are brought from the car park to the administration processing office. Here the detainees are made to sit in rows and the criminalization process according to their SOP is carried out. This SOP is faceless and nameless and is used as the scrapegoat and blame for any “incident”. That makes no one in the facilities be accountable for any “incident”.

Every detainees brought here were always be constantly intimidated, threatened or beaten by Immigration officers. These are clearly designed to project to all detainees that they are at their mercies within these compounds. They are able to do it because the compound is completely shrouded in secrecy and off-limits to public eyes. Here they practiced total humiliation and making you feeling total helplessness in a foreign land. This environment, psychological torture and the cruel and inhumane conditions is the living hell.

Maggie spent 5 days and I spent 35 days of living hell inside these cruel and inhumane conditions detention center run by Malaysia immigration.

For my next post, read on what is life inside these detention cells for foreigners.

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