Journal entries of 35-days detention (Part 1 & 2)
Journal entries for day 1 – 28.02.2018 (Wednesday)
Journal entries of 35-days detention prologue:
I was staying in Malaysia with a 5-year MM2H visa and a valid Singapore passport when this incident happened.
On the night of 28.2.2018, I drove over to this property, a bungalow located at Gelang Patah that was used for charity work. I drove from my own Malaysian home in another nearby housing estate. I left my wife behind at home waiting for me to return while I went over to this property to do some repair and maintenance work.
While I was in the midst of doing the repair work, a big team of immigration officers appeared outside my property gate. They were tipped off by the married girlfriend, JS of one of their immigration-officer colleagues, MZ. This girlfriend (actually sent me a photo of his immigration ID, an image of his ID below) had rented a room nearby to watch and see when I would appear at this property.
JS was evicted from my property on 31.1.2018. Prior to the eviction, MZ had trespassed on my property illegally earlier to cohabit with this married girlfriend, JS. For that illegal trespassing I had reported him to the police (see image of police report below), but I showed mercy and did not press charges when asked by the police. This was because I am a foreigner and I wanted to avoid any trouble. However, it was not so with him, and he wanted revenge. Because of that he retaliated by collaborating with his colleagues to raid my property.
Journal entries of reasonable and legitimate requests ignored/refused
The leader of the Immigration raiding team, MHBK asked to see my identification documents and which I show my pink Singapore identity card. I also informed MHBK that I have a ‘Make Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) 5-year visa.
But unfortunately, I have left my passport inside my Singapore-registered car that was parked at my Malaysian home.
And my wife was also at home waiting for me to return back for the night.
The distance between this property to my Malaysian home in Nusajaya is a short distance of 5.8 km. And the drive only takes 8 minutes. It is only reasonable that I be allowed to inform my wife and picked up my Singapore passport before being taken back to Setia Tropika Immigration HQ as I am already handcuffed by MHBK.
So, I requested MHBK to allow me to inform my wife and collect my passport. However, MHBK refused my request. Hence, I also could not hand over my Singapore car key, few sets of house keys, credit cards, cash, bank tokens and apartment access cards to my family. These were all important items that my family needs in order to handle all my affairs. Because I could not hand over all these important stuffs to my family, they were at a total loss to manage my affairs while I was in detention. It was traumatic for my family to face this loss-of-control situation as I was the only person who had been handling all these matters. The bungalow property was in disrepair and the gate left wide opened for any stranger to walk in or out after his raid. I had these two words to describe this immigration officer – cruel, evil. Their cruel treatment towards foreigners is a ‘warning notice’ to foreign investors when thinking of bringing funds to invest in Malaysia. And why evil? By disallowing me to collect my passport so he can load another baseless but serious offence of illegally entering Malaysia, for whatever his sinister motive.
I would expect that it is a basic right to collect my passport from my house and to inform my wife of my arrest. The passport is an important piece of identification document, and I should be taken to my home first to collect which MHBK deliberately refused.
I find it unusual that Immigration Department of Malaysia would deprive a foreigner with MM2H visa of these basic rights, which leads me to believe there is something sinister behind this whole incident.
Journal entries of intention to frame charge of not having passport
I later found out the reason they refused to allow that is so that they could charge me of not having travel document that can prove that I am a legally allowed into Malaysia.
They were already preparing the serious charge of me being in Malaysia as illegal without valid documentation, giving them more reasons to lock me up in their Immigration detention depot.
Though I do have copy of my passport and the MM2H visa on my hand phone, but it was of no acceptance by MHBK. They were seemingly operating with a nefarious agenda.
I also stored copy of the officer MZ‘s immigration ID on my hand phone. This photo ID was shown around to these immigration officers to protest my arrest, as it was clearly an act of retaliation from MZ. Some immigration officers recognize MZ as an officer who supervises the blocks of cells inside Pekan Nenas Detention depot. They hinted that I will surely see him once I am transferred there.
This MHBK who arrested and handcuffed me, deliberately did not acceded to my reasonable requests. From that you can straightaway deduce that whatever his religion or belief is; he had evil intention in his heart in this whole set-up.
Journal entries of immediate isolation from family and civilization
During the journey to Setia Tropika Immigration HQ, MHBK, the leader of the raiding party stops us from any form of communications.
However, I managed to sneak one short phone call to my wife to inform her on my arrest by Immigration Department of Malaysia.
After this phone call, I also managed to make another call to a Malaysian acquaintance, Ps JM. This call is to request him for help.
That was the last call and after that it was a total isolation and cut off from civilization. No one knew what had happened to me nor where am I for one whole week.
We finally reached the Setia Tropika Immigration HQ close to midnight. The immigration officers there were giving out loud commands and orders. These were in Malay language which I hardly understood as I was never good with the Malay language.
High fives and celebratory mood all round
The very first image of the moment when all twelve detained persons entered the room was seeing all the immigration officers in the room welcoming the whole raiding team back with high fives and celebratory smiles and glees all round. This must the thought that they had gotten a big “catch”, though it is unspoken, or so they thought. I had consistently refused to offer bribes during my stay in Malaysia and if there is such a thought, it is just wishful thinking on their part. There was chattering amongst some of these detainees that heard from the grapevine that each head could cost in the range of RM10,000 to RM15,000 through arranging a back-door deal. A back-door deal can be arranged as easy as abc as this is the Malaysian culture and way of life all these years.
We were all brought to this big open room and held there. The immigration officers then started to take details of our personal particulars and data. Then they record all of our fingerprints on documents, scanners and computers.
All our personal belongings, including our hand phones had to surrender to them. They would not allow us any communication and phone calls. Those who did not follows their commands or slow to react got beaten up by the guards wantonly.
Journal entries of condition worse than refugees’ camp
I was locked up in Setia Tropika Immigration HQ temporary lock up cell with 30 – 40 people which is the size of a 300 sq ft with an open low-wall toilet without doors. A simple tray of rice and a nasi lemak fish, very dilute syrup water was served for lunch and dinner. Everyone has to eat like animals and sleep in this horrible open concept environment with an open concept unhygienic toilet courtesy of the Immigration authority.
Spending a day in this inhumane cell was purely a psychological torture as you have completely nothing to do, no one to talk to and no one to let you know what is happening to your family and your affairs.
We had to stay in this unhygienic cell, sleeping on cold hard concrete with a pathetic piece of so-called blanket cloth.
There was no bathing, no brushing of teeth, no washing up and no change of clothes and underwear. We were wearing the same dirty clothes throughout the whole detention.
It was sheer mental torture when you find yourself with nothing to do to or engage on something for hours upon hours. The time pass really super slow as you watch the clock hands move so slow when you look.
Furthermore, they refused to let me speak to any senior immigration officers to find out on what was happening. I was vehemently protesting against this kind of cruel treatment and about their colleague, MZ but it was to no avail.
Journal entries of violent guards and threats
There are immigration guard armed with a beating baton standing outside to keep watch. They would constantly whack the steel bar making intimidating noises and threatening me with violence whenever I protested and wanted to see their senior immigration officer.
One of the immigration guards informed that it is pointless of me to protests and I will be held in immigration detention for 14 days + 14 days additional as if this is a standard detention protocol. It was only after I won the court challenge that prove it was 100% true all the while – immigration officers were doing just as what the guard said. Indeed, they have been abusing their power and infringing their Immigration Act S 51(5)(b)’s requirement, i.e. detainee shall be produced before a magistrate within 14 days who shall make an order for detention for such period as may be required.
These immigration officers are making known in no uncertain term that I am at their mercies and there is nothing I can do about it. They were very sure that no one is able to intervene, including even the Singapore Government could not help at all. In fact, my family did call 0197292XXX, the Singapore Attaché on 6.3.2018 for help but was told he could not intervene. So, the immigration guard’s advice is to wait and follow all their instructions to avoid any violence from them.
Journal entries of mobilization of a Crisis Management Team
This incident cause serious distress to all my family’s members by totally cutting off my communication with the outside world. Immigration officers have blatantly disregarded my basic human rights such as access to legal counsel upon arrest, to inform my family of my whereabout and not keeping me incommunicado for days. It was only on the 7th day that I was finally out from confinement to face an Immigration officer, PS, for the purpose of taking my statements.
My brother-in-law and his wife had to book a ticket to fly from Melbourne back to Singapore on 6.3.2018 to assist my wife to handle this terrible crisis situation. No one believe that I was being detained in some unknown location and kept incommunicado in Malaysia. It was as if I had committed a crime so egregious that I had to be treated in such cruel manner. I was to find out later that there was indeed a nefarious reason behind all these actions.
Members of my extended family were alarmed that my wife was facing a crisis all on her own for the past few days and were already getting involved even before my BIL started taking charge of this crisis from 6.3.2018. A diary log of details of all events was maintained. This was extremely useful to piece together the complete picture happening outside while I was inside the cell.
A neighbor of my Malaysian home helps to drive my wife around to various locations and including driving to Singapore to collect my Singapore car spare key to retrieve my passport.
An ex-colleague, who is Malaysian, also helps to drive my wife around such as to Pekan Nenas Immigration Detention Depot and to Setia Tropika Immigration HQ. He also advised my wife to snap a photo of the acknowledgement receipt upon surrendering my passport to Setia Tropika Immigration HQ which proves to be such valuable advice eventually.
Another long-time Malaysian friend was also around to assist my family in settling other personal and banking matters. She visited me and through that 1.4.2018 visit, helps to carries my urgent message to my family to seek Attache’s help immediately on my passport being held up at Setia Tropika Immigration HQ issue.
Journal entries for day 2 – 1.3.2018 (Thursday)
According to my then-Malaysian lawyer’s account provided to me as thus. “It is required that accused to be brought before a magistrate within 24 hours for a remand order. This is the law according to the Malaysia Federal Constitution Article 5(4). However, this was never done even though the magistrate and the Immigration Court is located inside Pekan Nenas Immigration Depot.”
My lawyer was not aware then that their Immigration Act Section 51 (5) (b) allows for detention of foreigner for up to 14 days without a Magistrate remand order.
He only reported that “I was never produced before a magistrate for the next 3 days and then the next 4 days for a remand order for my detention”. He just did not know that the Immigration authority had been detaining foreigners for 14 + 14 days without producing me before a magistrate.
Now we have found out that there was no checks and controls to prevent the abuse of power using section 51(5)(b). As I was a foreigner/Singaporean, there was no one to turn to in Malaysia when I was being unlawfully, illegally and unconstitutionally detained for 35 days. What an Immigration Department of Malaysia indeed, do-as-they-like-plus-at-their-whims-and-fancies! This is 100% proven in Malaysian High Courts and the Appeal Court.
Journal entries for day 3 – 2.3.2018 (Friday)
Transfer to Pekan Nenas Depot.
In the morning on this day, we were told to collect all our belongings, we were transported to Pekan Nenas Immigration Depot.
One of the escorting immigration guards then told me that MZ who is targeting me works at Pekan Nenas Immigration Depot and I would meet him soon.
While awaiting paperwork processing at Pekan Nenas Immigration Depot administration office, I managed to send a SMS out. At risk of being beaten when caught, I managed to use my hand phone to my wife to tell her to seek help from Singapore Consulate. This was because my hand phone has not yet handed over to the immigration to keep away. I felt very threatened by this whole set up and the presence of MZ in this Pekan Nenas detention depot.
I did some fasting and prayer from today since I have so much time on hand with nothing to do and that I can control in such a dire situation.
Because of my SMS informing her of my location, my wife approaches my colleague to drive her to visit me at Pekan Nenas Depot. But she was denied access at the main gate of this detention depot.
Later in the afternoon, my neighbor volunteered to help drive my wife into Singapore. My wife had to collect my Singapore-registered car’s spare key from my Singapore home. Only then can she retrieve my Singapore passport left inside my Singapore car left on that fateful night.
On this first night at Pekan Nenas, it was the first time I saw MZ walks pass my cell, but he did not see me. He was one of the officers responsible to look after one of the detention blocks, but not the block I was in.
Pekan Nenas Immigration Detention Depot
There are 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.
Upon entering through the main entrance, the detainees are led down from the van to the car park area in front of the administration office for processing. In this area, they ordered us to sit down in rows by rows here while they processed the paperwork. We then had all our personal belongings taken away, leaving us with the clothes that we were wearing before sending us to the detention blocks building.
During the processing at the staging area, immigration officers would intimidate, threatened and screamed at detainees. Immigration officers picked detainees at random and beat them up as a warning to others. This projected that we are all at their mercies within these compounds that are shrouded from the public eyes.
Once they had completed the registration process of the group, they escorted us into the tight-security detention blocks area. While being staged at this area, they ordered us into a small room in small batches. They will subject us to a full naked body search and naked quick-paced squat-stand-squat torture. After the search, we pick up our clothes and were sent into the big lock-up cells. Every detainee entered without any personal hygiene items and one own set of clothes.
That ends the registration process, and you will be behind the 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 the detainees, they have languished inside for years with no news of their family or friends.
The criminalization process
Regardless of what immigration offences a foreigner has committed, he/she will be at the mercy of the immigration officer. There are already many documented cases involving Americans, Singaporeans and Filipinos, like the case of those Filipino mothers’ forced separation from their young children.
Even for simple infraction like overstaying for a few days can land you in such situation. A case that I have heard from the migrant person himself during my detention was such. The police officer threw away/destroyed this migrant worker’s passport and arrested him for not having valid documentation.
Once he/she is a suspect for immigration offence, he/she will be handcuffed together with other suspected immigration offenders. This is their Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) applicable to suspected immigration offenders.
Because there are tens or hundreds arrested daily, the SOP operation to register suspected immigration offenders looks like herding animals. Everyone will be linked together by handcuffs all the time whenever they are move from one location to another.
Everyone will have all 10 fingers ink-printed and mugshots taken in the registering process. A body number will be assigned to you by which you will be identified as throughout your detention. This is the SOP for arrest and handling with foreigners for immigration offences.
Journal entries for day 4 – 3.3.2018 (Saturday)
Being a Christian, I started to spend time fasting and praying since there was so much free time with nothing to do.
On this day, my colleague volunteers to send my wife to Pekan Nenas Immigration Depot to deliver my passport. But they refused to accept and told her to deliver the passport to Setia Tropika Immigration HQ office instead. It was a wasted and futile trip for my wife without even seeing and talking to me.
On this night, MZ deliberately came to my block cell to look for me and that was the first time we saw each other in Pekan Nenas Depot. This is the beginning of his vengeful harassment against me throughout the detention period.
Journal entries for day 5 – 4.3.2018 (Sunday)
Finally, my wife was able to deliver my passport to Setia Tropika Immigration HQ with the help of my Malaysian ex-colleague who drove her there.
Having done this, it averts the pending serious charge of being in Malaysia without valid documentation that MHBK plans to frame charges on me. It must be such a disappointment for MHBK that this ploy did not work.
As an act of caution, my colleague advised her to snap the photo of the receipt as proof showing my passport was handed over to an immigration officer at Setia Tropika Immigration HQ.
This acknowledgement receipt came in useful during my release. Initially the immigration officer lied that they did not receive my passport when requested by the Attaché from the Singapore Consular office. My family forwarded this receipt to the Attaché who used the receipt as proof and get them to send my passport to Pekan Nenas Detention Depot to process my immediate release.
One can surmise that they have sinister motive when claiming or lying that they did not receive my passport and refusing to find my passport to send to Pekan Nenas Detention Depot for processing my immediate release.
Let me tell a tale from another inmate with me at Kluang Prison. He paid his fine but was left detained for an extra week in Kluang prison when I arrived at Kluang Prison. He told me that the wife was worried that he was not released yet and so went to Setia Tropika Immigration HQ to enquire about him. The immigration officer offers her help to arrange for his release from Kluang prison for RM3,000 from the wife as a payment for her “service”. So, the reason is there is someone at Setia Tropika Immigration HQ who is waiting for my family to approach him/her for a “service” payment. I was already forewarned that they would not release my passport and managed to pass an urgent message to a friend, LW to inform my family immediately to approach the Singapore Consulate for help and intervention. My family produced the acknowledgment receipt to debunk their lie that they do not have my passport at Setia Tropika Immigration HQ.
First harassment act by immigration officer
On this night, MZ ordered a Kawasan (aka runner) to take my photograph of me inside the cell with the officer’s hand phone.
A couple of reasons for this officer to order his kawasan (runner) to vehemently take my photograph while inside the detention cell:
#1 – to show to his lover that he finally had locked me up.
#2 – for them to use the photo to perform some kind of black magic or voodoo rite.
This woman and MZ were actually burning incense outside her room in my house while identifying herself as a Christian.
What was the past few days and life like in Pekan Nenas Detention Depot?
#1 – Journal entries of isolation and all communication cut off
From the time of my arrest i.e. 28.2.2018 up to 6.3.2018, no one knows what happened to me or where am I.
The only information that everyone received was my arrest by the Immigration Department of Malaysia for a week.
This kind of detention of holding someone in a secretive manner is usually applied in a closed authoritarian society like North Korea.
Hence everyone who heard this news must be assuming that I must have done something extremely terrible, like murder someone.
Even for murder case, the accused was given access to lawyers and family members. They also need a remand order from a magistrate within 24 hours according to their Constitution.
#2 – Inhumane conditions inside Pekan Nenas Immigration Detention Depot
The front of the building is an isolation room and the detention cell is behind this isolation room.
The breadth of the cell is about 16 feet of three rows. These rows breadth are about 5.5 feet, 5 feet, 5.5 feet. This is because the detainees are sleeping side by side in three rows. During sleeping, the detainees do not have enough leg room to stretch out to sleep. And we average the detainees’ height is 5 feet 4 inches.
In the front of the cell is a raised concrete platform right up the length up to the gate door. This length is about 8 feet.
Then after the platform is the metal gate door. After the gate door, the length used for sleeping is up to the back metal gate door. After this gate door is the toilet area where a water tank is.
We can calculate the length of this sleeping space using the following. 22 inches (for the breadth-wise of human body side by side) by 43 men per row. From the calculation, it is about 78 feet for the length. So using 78 feet length by 16 feet breadth, we get about 1,248 square feet of sleeping space. This is the sleeping space cramped with 130 people at the max during my stay inside.
According to their senior immigration officer, Ms HBB, she submitted in her affidavit that the design and specification of cells and their capacity (for 130 people) are determined by the Department of Works (JKR). I don’t think anyone is sure whether that is true or not.
#3 – Journal entries of cramped sleeping space and bed bugs infested planks
For our sleeping are two rows of raised level that have wooden planks, designed for sleeping. But because this old wooden planks have been infested with blood-sucking bed bugs, it makes sleeping very difficult at times.
A full-scale attempt by all the detainees to disinfect these wooden planks to rid of bed bugs and follows by detergent washing these planks. They organized all of us to do this on one afternoon with limited success.
Because of sleeping close to one another, we had to restrained our body movement during sleeping. This is so as not to disturb the person sleeping beside you with their sleep.
There was no pillow provided for use. As for blanket, they provide a piece of pathetic cloth blanket to us.
#4 – Journal entries of poor hygienic sanitary condition
There are four open-concept-with-no-privacy WC for 130 people and usually one of this is out-of-order.
Hand scoops are provided and used for the following. Pink scoops for showering, washing our clothes, scooping water to clean food tray. The blue ones are for scooping water for cleaning off after the “business”.
Occasionally, a detainee used the wrong water scoop and possibly bacteria contamination of the whole water tank. Immigration officer Ms HBB submitted an exhibit of an outside water filter, reckoning that the contamination is sand and sediments in her affidavit.
The water tank is one big common all-purpose water tank. It was used to hold water for shower, washing clothes, and cleaning the food trays after each meal. The detainees also used the water in cleaning up after completing their “business”.
My cell is on the lower floor and any detainees with walking disabilities were put here. Occasionally, an old man who cannot walks just release his “business” on the floor of the toilet.
Occasionally at other times, he releases his “business” at where he sleeps. Some detainees would help him clean up.
#5 – food meant for refugees
Every day, the food served during my detention is:
Breakfast is two loaf of bread and tea-flavor drink for breakfast.
Lunch and dinner is rice with the nasi lemak ikan and a few pieces of cabbage. Once in a week, you get a small hard piece of horrible-tasting curry beef meat.
For tea break, they give two pieces of cracker biscuit and tasteless tea-flavor drink.
This is the maximum food intake the detention depot provided for your sustenance which actually leave you malnourished.
#6 – Journal entries of deprived personal hygiene
I was wearing the same set of clothes for 14 days. These clothes were the same as that I wore on the night I was detained. On the 15th day, my missus brought me extra set, towels, soap, detergent, toothpaste and my medication. That was during her 2nd visitation on the 15th day of detention. During these days, have to depend on donation from other detainees taken from their personal hygiene items.
Ms HBB had claimed in KL High Court that they had issued personal hygiene items to us but none of the detainees received any. Exhibits of two goods-issued reports showing issuance of hygiene items and signed off by the immigration guards was claimed that it was issued to detainees. But the reports itself has discrepancy such as the signatures of the same immigration guard are different. Furthermore, there were no exhibits to show these items were issued to detainees and signed off by detainees.
In fact, detainees had to buy personal hygiene items from the checker. The checker is the person in charge of each cell and reports to immigration guards/officers.
Journal entries for day 6 – 5.3.2018 (Monday)
As Indonesians detainees are one of the biggest group and other groups who are of the Muslim faith, the cell catered religious prayers for them. In the detention center, there is a set routine and the same time table very day that is a part of their Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
Daily Routine and Time Table for Prayers
There is one prayer time very early in the morning at 6.30 am. The waking up is at 6.00 am for everyone and washing up till 6.30 am. Following after 6.30 am, the half of the cell at the back would be cleared of sleepers. They then rolled out the long prayer mats for their prayers.
Those who are not joining the religious prayer would move out of the way of these congregants. They would continue resting in the rest of the unoccupied areas. These detainees would keep silent throughout the prayer time as a mark of respect for these detainees’ beliefs.
There is one prayer time before noon, another one prayer time in late afternoon. Then there is one prayer time at close to the dinner time . Whenever there is the prayer time, the rest of the detainees activities are quieten down and whispering instead of talking loudly. The last prayer time being the one late at night before sleeping time at 11.00 pm.
Journal entries for day 7 – 6.3.2018 (Tuesday)
I started regular fasting and praying since there was so much time but little activities inside this place. Usually it is sleeping, lazing around and have a couple of improvise board game to pass time throughout detention.
This day they brought us out to the main administration office for questioning. They brought us before an immigration officer for the first time. This immigration officer was a one-pip Sikh officer, PS.
On this day PS started questioning and recording oral statements from each one of us individually.
For events outside of Pekan Nenas, my family, accompanied by my neighbor, drove to Setia Tropika Immigration building. They need to get an authorization letter for my wife from MHBK to visit me on the next day.
The short 15 minutes visit happened the next day on the 7.3.2018 which was the first visit from my wife after being in isolation and cut off from civilization for a week.
First phone call after one week of isolation
On this day, my wife was given PS’s HP contact to call in to his handphone to talk to me as recorded on the phone call log. See the image of phone call log record. I believe that this is a discreet way to provide a communication channel for any backdoor deal, if there is one. It is also possible for the purpose doing a recording of my conversation with my wife
This call allows me to leave important instructions to my wife. She then helps to access information from my personal computer which is in my Singapore home. At least we are able to do something now despite facing treacherous, cunning and scheming immigration officers.
My wife confirm that my passport had been sent to Setia Tropika Immigration HQ office which was a big relief. This PS was still telling me about the charge of being in Malaysia without valid documentation i.e. Singapore passport. It turns out that it was just a scare as my wife had already done so on the 4.3.2018. Much later I discovered PS was very cunning and scheming, also been feeding lies and misinformation.
My brother-in-law drove my wife back to Singapore to retrieve my laptop PC and return to JB on the same night.
I was totally cut off and in the dark about what was happening outside the high walls of Pekan Nenas Immigration Depot. Similarly, the outside world is none the wiser as to what happened inside here as all happenings within were shrouded in secrecy. It was deliberately to be in this way so that the immigration officers can manipulate and control us. They have full control over information that I received and what information my family received.
I also remember that I have made a complaint about MZ to PS. This MZ has been harassing and intimidating me. Instead, PS also threatened and warned me, that making an official complaint against an immigration officer is a serious matter and demanded proof. To demand proof is just a veiled threat knowing that there is no camera phone allowed and secondly, no way any detainees would stand up to be my witness in this detention environment. It also turns out that he and MZ were close buddy, seen from their interactions when they meet.
This end Part 1 of Journal entries of 37-days detention. To continue on Part 2.
Journal Entries For Day 8 – 7.3.2018 (Wednesday)
This is a Part 2 continuation of Journal entries of 35-days detention Part 1 in Pekan Nanas Immigration Depot.
Of the total 35-days detention, 26 days was in Setia Tropika, then Pekan Nanas Immigration Depot. Following the next 2 days was in Kluang prison and the last 7 days in Pekan Nanas Depot again.
First Visitation From My Wife
According to the diary’s account:
QUOTE: “It was raining that day. We drove (my wife) to Pekan Nanas Detention Centre to visit (me).
Finished the visit at 1700hours.
Also contacted Embassy officer to obtain more information about (me) case and any possible charges.
1845hrs Fixed appointment to meet (acquaintance) for breakfast on Thursday, 8 March, 2018.” UNQUOTE
Journal Entries For Day 9 – 8.3.2018 (Thursday)
Having found myself in such dire circumstances, I spend time to pray and start to fast a couple of days for divine help to see me through these evil days.
According to the diary’s account:
QUOTE: “0730 hrs My family members met Ps JM at GelangPatah for breakfast.
Ps JM updated us that he managed to get an authorisation letter from IO to visit (me) the next day, which is on 9 March 2018.
Ps JM also mentioned that he had gave a statement to the IO to testify on (me) Personal Character – (me) is a good character person and he opened the house at GelangPatah for old folks and the homeless.
He also said that he met PS who was willing to help (me). PS appeared to be a very religious person and a kind officer, who said that he always goes to the temple.” UNQUOTE
Free Time Segment
Outside of these two particular notable routines of roll calls and Muslim prayer time in the daily time table, the rest of the time is for the four meal breaks and our own activities (free time segment).
These free time segment will see some occasional incidents that will break the monotony of the daily routine. Such incidents usually start by fierce, aggressive arguments and fight challenges between individuals. A couple of such arguments leads to real open fights, gang fights and lastly, guards beating up a detainee within the cell and outside the cell.
In such an environment of many impulsive, unthinking and aggressive males, there are quite a few such fights and usually involves the alpha male types.
On this day there was a big fight that broke out between a few Indonesia nationals against Bangladesh nationals worth recorded in my journal entries.
The make-up of detainees in Pekan Nanas consisted of many Indonesia national illegals during my detention. They were quietly territorial as well as being a tightly-knitted group of daring fighters.
Because of the cultural similarities, they blend in well with the Malaysian Malay.
They usually do not have valid immigration documents or were using fake ID documents.
The Fight Story
Apart from a big number of Indonesia national detainees, there is also a sizeable number of Bangladesh national detainees. Within these two groups, there are a few who likes to street fight because they grew up in such environment. Both groups have individuals who are fierce, fighters background and outspoken but more on the side of the Indonesians. The Indonesia side often challenged and questioned the checker and his supporter’s certain decisions.
One of the checker’s supporters is a Bangladesh national but there was no Indonesian-national. So the Indonesian-national group was not happy that there was no Indonesia-national checker’s supporters.
Because supporters enjoyed certain privileges, some would vie to be the checker’s supporters. Apart from enjoying privileges, these supporters also give favors to their own nationality group. Hence there is resentment from unhappy campers when there is no supporter from certain nationality group.
In this kind of cramped, crowded and hostile environment, people’s tempers tends to be short-fused and ignited easily. On top of that, supporters need to be loud mouthed. They also act mafia and behaved macho to be able to control the detainees.
The Reason Why The Fight Started
One fine day, this resentment boils over to an argument over privileges enjoyed by Bangladeshi-national checker’s supporter. The total dissatisfaction by a couple of Indonesians with the Bangladeshi supporter breaks the monotone of the daily routine and fighting occurs.
The angry Indonesian and his friend started to attack the Bangladeshi. It then snowballed into many Bangladeshis entering the fight to help their Bangladeshi friend. Soon the fight expanded and involves many Indonesians fighting with as many Bangladeshi fighters.
The whole place soon turns into a mayhem with the fight raging as bystanders moved away to avoid the fighters. Fists and kicks were flying all over the place for a good while. These Indonesians are fierce fighters and many of them joined the fight. That leads to more of the Bangladeshi nationals to help their fighting friends.
A Squad Of Guards Entered To Break Up The Fight
They have assembled a squad of guards outside and rushed in with their batons once the gate opened. And they started beating those involved in the fight before the fight broke up.
During such fighting involving many fighters, innocent bystanders could be beaten by mistake. Some could ended up as witness to snitches and takes side.
The danger that I faced is the possibility that the officer MZ could have planted someone inside to attack me. This fight would provide an opportunity as cover to carry out the attack.
As usually happened, the guards were shouting, questioning the checker and the main persons who started the fight. The guards decided that their best course of action is to punish those involved. These are the ones who start the fight.
Witnessing This Visual “Lesson”
We witnessed the guards beating up the detainees outside. This is the guards’ visual “lesson” to teach detainees that they will not tolerate anyone creating any disorder inside the cell.
The guards were sending a message that this was the consequences for fighting. Even though the guards punished those fighting there were still fights occurring thereafter.
This was the first fight that I witnessed. I have included this incident in my court documents.
Journal Entries For Day 10 – 9.3.2018 (Friday)
Surprise Visitation Of Unwanted Visitor
I was in isolation for a week already and not able to talk to anyone. But today I got a surprise visitation from an acquaintance, Ps JM.
According to his account, he went to Setia Tropika Immigration HQ to give his statement and testimony to PS about my character and charity work.
Ps JM was convinced and believed that PS and MHBK are kind, nice and helpful officer trying to help me. They will recommend someone who can help me rather than engaging lawyers. Ps JM informed me that he will be talking to my family to help me come out.
Apparently from the diary account, he had already met with my family with an offer that PS is “willing to help me” to get me out of this situation.
Ps JM was telling me repeatedly how these two immigration officers, PS and MHBK are kind, helpful and good men who wanted “to help me”. From all that he is saying, he is hinting to me to instruct my family to look for PS instead of lawyers to help me get out from detention.
My family and extended family members have a crisis meeting. They knew this officer was setting a trap for me to sink into a deeper hole. They were fully aware of officer MZ and his lover’s plot to make sure that I will be jailed as part of their retaliation plan.
My family rejected offering any money as part of a deal for my release. Throughout my stay in Malaysia, I have never offered a single ringgit in bribe, though a common occurrence for many, in any situation. I am happy that my family made the right decision on my behalf.
About Scams And Bribes For Release
On the 28.2.2018, two Nepal nationals were arrested and detained together with me. However, on the 26.3.2018, they were not charged together with me. This confirmed what they had told me that they had valid work permits.
These two Nepalese were employed by a security company providing security guard services for an American multi-national company that I am connected with and personally knew the company well.
This MNC Company requires contractor to be audited to ensure that they must meet stringent professional requirements. So all security guards supplied to this MNC must be locals or foreigners with valid work permits.
According to both of them, they had each paid RM6,000 to an employment agency to obtain their work permits. At the point of arrest, their documentation was surrendered with their company.
According to their account, they had been informed by their boss that they will be released after our case concluded on the 26.2.2018.
Nasty Turn Of Event After Payment
After I was transferred from Kluang prison back to Pekan Nanas, I was surprised to see them still around.
According to their account, their boss had made some payments requested by Immigration but was told to make more payment.
I hears this same story told by many detainees. Every detainee’s hope that their company would redeemed them so that they can get out from this inhumane place. Then they would be able to continue working and earning in Malaysia.
Their boss refused to make any additional payment and they are now waiting for deportation back to Nepal. We do not know how much had already been paid by their boss and how much more were demanded. But we can guess that it must be quite a sum that the boss has no choice but to send both of them back to Nepal. This information was relayed to them from their boss.
These two Nepalese are real life cases that I encountered that testified of detainees’ family or company bosses making payment.
Their company boss after making payment could only watch helplessly as his men were deprived of their legal rights to work having paid six thousand ringgits to an agent for their work permit.
Both were unjustly deported back to Nepal around second week of May 2018.
Journal Entries For Day 11 – 10.3.2018 (Saturday)
Continues to do days of fasting and praying to keep my spirit up and my sanity in the face of the constant harassments and intimidation from officer MZ always coming to my lock up cell hoping to create duress to me and maybe he could have an opportunity for a situation to attack me.
On this day I saw one group of 11 Bangladesh national migrant workers brought into the cell.
They are work permit holders workers who had completed two years contract with their previous contractor-employer.
One of them is Mr. MNU (Body No. 2xx) who is the group’s representative as he could converse in English. Name and body ID is obscure to hide his identity.
According to MNU‘s account, they have each paid RM12,000 agency fee to their new employer for a two-year contract. They have banded together as a group of workers to work on the construction of South Key Megamall Development. This is the Phase 1 Project around Feb 2018. They were informed by their company’s representative that their work permits would be processed.
This company that they worked for is a big Sdn Bhd that is an incorporated local contractor company working on a mega construction project.
While they were working at their construction site, immigration officers raided the site. The immigration officers arrested and brought them to Pekan Nanas Immigration Depot for detention.
There are stories that such raids are usually based on information from scheming collaborator-informers to the Immigration Department of Malaysia.
Now they ended up detained inside Pekan Nanas Immigration Depot, with possibility of losing their RM12,000 agency fee paid as well as deportation and blacklisted from entering Malaysia. If MNU‘s account is true, it is a terrible abuse of human rights.
Despair And Despondency
I just prayed for them that they will not lose their RM12,000 for the work permit, be redeemed by their company, get released and return back to work.
Many of the detainees inside the detention center share their stories about paying redemption fee of three thousand ringgits per head by families or bosses.
They could only wait and wait in despair for the hope that their company would redeem them out from this hellish place. Otherwise, they will languish inside as undocumented migrants and wait for deportation which could take months.
It was ten days of life in hell and a possible nightmare for them and their families if deported. Their company had redeemed their freedom after ten days. Was their freedom because of payment made, none of us the wiser other than the immigration officers investigating their case?
Immigration finally released them around the second last week of March, on 20.3.2018 (Tuesday), the day of the week for release of detainees. All fellow detainees were happy and cheered for them on the day of their release.
Journal Entries For Day 12 – 11.3.2018 (Sunday)
Daily Routine For Roll Call Within Each Day
One of the important rituals that is part of the daily routine throughout each day is the 3-hourly roll call event. This roll call is for reporting the number of detainees in every cell within the entire detention center to their central command. This is for them to account for every movement of detainees and their whereabouts throughout the day.
For the roll call, the center siren would go off and every detainee would scramble into position in rows of 10 detainees breadth-wise, all the way length-wise to the back of the cell. If you are halfway enjoying your shower or doing your bowel movement, you have to get out of your act and scramble to fill out the empty places. There will be no movement by anyone and all heads must look down.
There was one particular roll call timing around dinner time. Depending on when the food delivery lorry arrives, this dinner event can be a bit of crazy. When the food arrives late, the timing to eat the dinner, wash up the food tray and clean the floor up is crazy. It is crazy because we have to be in position when the siren sounds for the roll call.
Checker’s Role During Roll Call
The checker’s role is to report the number of detainees to the duty guard. He and his assistants (supporters) would threaten punishment on anyone not complying or not ready in position for the roll call.
In every cell, all the checkers will be waiting for the duty guard to visit the cell before ordering the whole cell to greet this guard loudly. The checker will report the number of detainees and the guard will count numbers by the rows as he inspects the detainees.
The usual time to complete a roll call is around 15 – 20 minutes for all the blocks to report their numbers to their central command. During any roll call, if an officer is not happy with the roll call, he will ordered punishment on the whole group.
During a roll call on this night, officer MZ singled me out for having moved. We were punished by officer MZ with remaining in the same position for additional 30 minutes with no movement.
This was officer MZ directly targeting me. It is to let everyone be aware that he has marked me so that no one would tries to help me. As he pretended to walk away to inspect other cells, he instigated the duty guard to teach me a painful lesson. This guard unlocks the metal gate, comes in and angrily accuses me of creating troubles.
Knowing that he was instigating for a reaction from me that would justifies him to slap or beat me up, I answer in very soft tone, “Sir, please give chance” a few times. The bible teaches that a soft answer turns away wrath. So with that, an unseen angel had helped me avert the evil from officer MZ.
Journal Entries For Day 13 – 12.3.2018 (Monday)
According to the diary’s account:
QUOTE “1030 hrs – Drove to City Square Mall to Singapore Embassy to obtain the list of solicitors in JB.
Obtained the list from the Embassy staff.
1200 hrs – At the same time, we visited CST (office is also located in City Square Mall).
Met with solicitor CST. However, CST informed that he does not go to the court. He does only conveyance.
Solicitor CST then refer us to another solicitor, Mr YHK. We google for YHK’s address. Address is in Larkin area.
1530 hrs – We found the office and contacted Solicitor YHK. We met him in his office at 1530 hrs.
Solicitor YHK informed that he handles mostly capital sentences and drug offences. Nevertheless, he can together with another senior Solicitor Haji N to undertake (my) case.” UNQUOTE
My wife signed the Authority to Act on this day for lawyer YHK and engaged him to to act on my behalf.
Though my family had engaged a lawyer to act for me, this provides no change in my circumstances or any tangible help until 21.3.2018. After nine days later on 21.3.2018, the immigration investigating officer allows him to visit me. This is an unbelievable abuse of human rights just because I was already locked up for 21 days on foreign soil with no one to turn to and first access to lawyer after 21 days.
Journal Entries For Day 14 – 13.3.2018 (Tuesday)
I do not know whether I was allowed visitors or not. Only after I found out from the diary account that I knew I was allowed one visitor and only family member are allowed to visit once a week:
QUOTE: “After lunch, we went to Setia Tropika on the 14th day to enquire and found out that only one visit was allowed and family member was only allowed.” UNQUOTE
Arrested together with me was three Indian nationals who had overstayed their social visa by few days. Most the time, I stayed close to one of them who speaks English quite well. He is from the state of Punjab, India.
With these three India nationals and three Nepal nationals around me, they watch over my back against the officer MZ and from any detainees giving me troubles. In fact, this India national from Punjab saw officer MZ video recording me with his hand phone while I was sleeping but MZ quickly hides his handphone when MZ realized this Indian friend saw what MZ was doing.
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