Be Careful On Immigration Matters

Good to be careful always

From many of my earlier postings, the moral of the story is to be careful when it comes to immigration matters or dealing with Malaysia Immigration. This is especially so with foreigners such as Singaporeans. Singaporeans are by and large more trusting and also more affluent. They make good victims.

I will share on what happened to me as an example. This is share further down after the next two paragraphs. From this example, we will see why Singaporeans have to be careful always when dealing with Malaysia immigration department. The sharing is to support this outlook so that we keep safe.

Be careful or else you might be snared

For Singaporeans that cross over into Malaysia, it is always prudent to check all your passports and be careful on all immigration matters with these immigration officers. Some could deliberately don’t stamped your passport. And you ends up with a passport that is missing an entry stamp or an exit stamp. You could then be a potential victim to be ensnared.

And for all foreigners, you pretty make sure that you leave the country before the visa expiry date. Even for committing an infraction such as overstaying for one day, you could be messed up real bad.

This next one is also important. You have to have your passport with you everywhere you go in Malaysia. This is their favorite move to ensnare foreigners once you are targeted. On the night of my arrest, they refused to let me go to picked up my passport (with MM2H stamp) from my home. It is only 5 minutes drive to my home but they deliberately refused me to do it. Until my wife send my passport to their Setia Tropika office, immigration were ready to charge me as without legal documents. This is one charge they could use to claim to their court that you are an undocumented migrants with illegal entry. Such a charge is real serious and which they can played up.

Corruption is very much a part of their culture

There is always a reason why certain people behaved in a certain way that is based on certain culture. When this particular culture encourages and rewards certain practice, it reinforces belief in a person’s mind that by doing things in a certain way, they will benefit richly from it. This is the premise from which I have observed and hears from my Malaysia friends.

We will look at the real life example on what happened to me. In my 35 days detention episode, my release could be held up because of this incident. When you acts carefully, you will be spared of much grief.

Premise is from observations of real life incident

Even though I have already paid the fine ordered by the magistrate on the same day, I was still delivered and spent some days in their Kluang jail. I was subjected to another round of cruel inhumane treatment and corruption inside this place. This is also a hell place and you will be subjected to their mercies and torture because you are without any rights. And being in this place and without rights, they act simply by their SOP, the release date is fixed for only Wednesday of the week. If you are not release on this Wednesday, you will languished for another week inside.

Here in this place, I met another foreigner, a Chinese national who has been charged and convicted under immigration offence. He was fined RM3,000 for which it has been paid but he still ended up in this jail. Because I could communicate with him in Chinese, we hit if off and shares our encounters.

He shares with me that he had to languished for another week in this jail even after he has paid his fine. And because he was not released, his wife became very concern on his whereabouts. His wife went to Setia Tropika Immigration office and approached the officer in charge to find out about his situation. She was told that she just have to wait or she could do something about it. And what was the “something”? It was a “service fee” of RM3,000 and which she paid because of her fear of what might happened to her husband. After paying, his wife informed him and true enough, his release was schedule for next week Wednesday, the same day as me.

A miracle happened

My lawyer has informed my daughter of the date (4.4.2018), Wednesday of my release. She then passed on this information to me.

On the Saturday (31.3.2018) I knows I have to fast and pray that nothing goes wrong with my passport being delivered to Pekan Nanas. I fasted a complete day for this matter.

On the next day, I was in pain from some infection in the morning and was allowed outside of the cell to visit the clinic. While I was outside, a friendly guard escorting me checked through his mobile for my release status. He informed me that my passport has still not been sent over from Setia Tropika office to Pekan Nanas. Without my passport in Pekan Nanas office, my release on 4.4.2018 would not happened. This is the day set for release for Singaporeans every week according to their SOP.

I was brought back in the cell after the clinic visit. In the afternoon, they sent for me and I was happy to be allowed out again, hoping it is some good news. The reason I was sent for is because I have visitors which surprised me. What happened was that my Malaysia friend has drop by to visit me. Through her, I passed the message to inform my daughter that my passport is not being delivered to Pekan Nanas. That means that I would have to stay another week in detention. as my release could not be processed according to immigration procedure. I told her to immediately inform my daughter and for her to inform the Singapore embassy too.

Setia Tropika Immigration claimed passport not given

Setia Tropika Immigration building
Location of Setia Tropika immigration

My daughter, through the Singapore embassy, approached Setia Tropika immigration on why my passport was not delivered to Pekan Nanas to process my release . Read on…..

This is what transpired; The officer replied that they do not have my passport and my passport was not given. My daughter had to produce the proof that immigration acknowledged receipt of my passport. And because the Singapore embassy staff was involved during this dispute with immigration, they relented. We knew that without Singapore Embassy’s intervention, they will run rings around us. It is very important to have documented proof for every dealings with the Malaysia authorities.

They have no choice but to send my passport to Pekan Nanas and to process my release on coming Wednesday. Every detainees keep telling me that it is impossible for me to be released on the coming Wednesday based on all the past stories that that have heard. Everyone in detention is well aware of all the immigration’s malfeasance and modus operandi. But it is not so with the Malaysia general public and worse still for foreigners.

Ends well for me with good documentation

A colleague drove my wife to delivered my passport to Setia Tropika Immigration on the 3.3.2018. This colleague is a Malaysian and helps my wife gets a receipt from immigration. My wife then use her mobile to snap a picture of this receipt as proof. Because of this presence of mind, it saved us being caught in the immigration’s snare. It was one of the best thing that my wife has done.

Proof of passport given to immigration and avoid grief

In this context, many things are left unclear as to interpretation for a reason, just like this announcement by the minister. Such a major announcement has only a few statements but empty of all the necessary details. This is deliberately done in this way with a purpose in mind. Because without the necessary details spell out, it is up to the Immigration department to interpret in their own way to suit their agenda.

Whenever possible, we want to remind foreigners to play doubly safe and be careful when dealing with Malaysia immigration officers and immigration matters.

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