Journal entries of 37-days detention (Part 1)
Journal entries for day 1 – 28.02.2018 (Wednesday)
Journal entries of 37-days detention prologue:
I was staying in Malaysia with a 5-year MM2H visa and a valid Singapore passport when this event happened.
On the night of 28.02.2018, I drove over to this property. I drove from my own Malaysia home in another nearby housing estate. I left my wife behind at home waiting for me to return after fixing up some repair work.
A big team of Immigration officers raided my property while I was doing some repair work.
One of their colleagues, officer MZ, had trespassed on my property illegally earlier. For that trespassing I had reported him to the police. For that he retaliated and informed his colleagues to raid my property.
Journal entries of reasonable and legitimate requests ignored/refused
The Immigration officer asked to see my identification documents and which I show my pink Singapore Identity Card. I also informed that I have a ‘Make Malaysia My Second Home’ long term stay visa.
But unfortunately I have left my passport in my Singapore-registered car that was parked at my Malaysia home.
And my wife was also at home waiting for me to return back for the night.
The distance between this property to my Malaysia home in Nusajaya is a distance of 5.8 km. And the drive only takes 8 minutes.
I requested to inform my wife and collect my passport. However the officer refused my request. Hence I also could not hand over my Singapore car key, house keys, credit cards, cash, bank tokens and apartment access card. These were all important items that my family needs to have 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
To collect my passport from my house, which is an important piece of identification document relating to my case under investigation and to inform my wife of my arrest is a basic right.
It was highly unusual that Malaysia Immigration would deprived a foreigner with MM2H of this basic rights unless something sinister is 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 to prove that I am a legal resident.
They were already preparing the serious charge of being in Malaysia as illegal without valid documentation, giving them reason to lock me up in their Immigration depot.
Though I do have copy of my passport and the MM2H visa on my hand phone but it was of no acceptance to these immigration officer seemingly with an agenda.
I also stored copy of officer MZ‘s ID on my hand phone. This ID photo was shown to all the Immigration officers to protest my arrest, as it was clearly an act of retaliation from officer MZ.
This immigration officer who deliberately did not allows me to do what are reasonable requests, whatever his religion or beliefs; he knew what evil he had intended in his heart before God.
Journal entries of immediate isolation from family and civilization
During the journey to Setia Tropika Immigration HQ, the captain of the raiding party stops us from any form of communication with anyone .
But I managed to sneak one short phone call to my wife to inform her on my arrest by Malaysia Immigration.
After this phone call, I also managed to make another call to a Malaysia acquaintance. This call is to request him to assist to get a Malaysia lawyer.
After this last call, it was a total isolation and cut off from civilization. No one knew what happened to me nor where am I throughout this one full week.
We finally reached the Setia Tropika Immigration HQ close to midnight. The officers there were giving all kinds of loud commands and orders. These were in Malay 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 we entered the room was seeing all the officers in the room welcoming the whole raiding team back with all-round high fives and celebratory smiles and glees.
We were all brought to this big open room and held there. The officers then started to take details of our personal particulars and data. Then they record all of our finger prints on documents, scanners and computers.
All our personal belongings, including our hand phones had to surrender to them. They would not allowed us any communication and phone calls. Those who did not follows their commands or slow to react got beaten up wantonly.
Journal entries of condition worse than refugees’ camp
I was locked up in Setia Tropika 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 were serve for lunch and dinner in and everyone has to eat like animals in this horrible environment where an open concept unhygienic toilet were part of the stay.
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 cold hard cell sleeping on cold hard concrete with a pathetic piece of so-called blanket cloth.
There are no bathing, no washing up and no change of any clothes and is going to be wearing the same dirty clothes throughout the whole period of 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 pass super slow as you watches the clock.
Furthermore they refused to let me speak to any senior officers to find out on what was happening. I was vehemently protesting against this kind of cruel treatment and their colleague, officer MZ.
Journal entries of violent guards and threats
There are guard standing outside to keep watch with a beating baton. They would constantly whack the steel bar and threatening me with violence whenever I requested to see their officer.
One of the guard informed that it is pointless of me to protest and I will be held in detention for 14 days + 14 days extension.
It is making known in no uncertain term that I am at their mercies and there is nothing I can do about it except to just wait and follow all their instructions.
This incident cause serious distress to all my family’s members by totally cutting off all communication with anyone. This Immigration Department blatantly and arrogantly disregarded my basic human rights for access to legal counsel and keeping me incommunicado.
My brother in law and his wife had to book a ticket to fly from Melbourne back to Singapore on 06.03.2018 to assist my wife to handle this whole terrible situation which no one believe would happened to me.
Journal entries for day 2 – 01.03.2018 (Thursday)
According to my Malaysia lawyer’s account to me through email. It is require that accused to be brought before a Magistrate within 24 hours for a remand order. This is the law according to the Malaysia Constitution.
However this was never done even though the Magistrate and the Immigration Court is located inside Pekan Nanas Immigration Depot. Immigration took advantage that I am a Singaporean knowing that I had no one in Malaysia that I can turn to.
Journal entries for day 3 – 02.03.2018 (Friday)
Transfer to Pekan Nanas Depot.
In the morning on this day we were told to collect all our belongings, we were transported to Pekan Nanas Immigration Depot.
One of the escorting guards then told me that officer MZ who is targeting me works at Pekan Nanas Immigration Depot and I would meet him.
While awaiting paperwork processing at Pekan Nanas, I managed to send a SMS out. I managed to use my hand phone to my wife to tell her to seek help from Singapore Embassy. This was because my hand phone has yet handed over to keep away. I felt very threatened by this whole set up and the involvement of this officer MZ.
I did some fasting and prayer from today since I have so much time on hand with nothing that I can do or control in such a situation.
Because of my SMS informing her of my location, my wife approaches my colleague to drive her to visit me at Pekan Nanas Depot. But she was denied access at the main gate.
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 from my Singapore car left inside on that fateful night.
On this first night at Pekan Nanas, it is the first time I saw officer MZ walks pass my cell but he did not see me. He was one of the officers responsible to look after detention blocks, but not the block I was in.
Pekan Nanas Immigration 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 processing office. 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 them with the clothes that they were wearing and send to the detention blocks building.
During the processing, Immigration officers would intimidated, threatened and screamed at detainees. Officers picked detainees at random and beat up them as a warning to others. This project that we are all at their mercies within these compounds that are off-limits to public eyes.
Once they had completed the registering process of the group, they brought us to the tight-security detention blocks area. 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 body squat torture. After the search, we pick up our clothes and were send to the lock-up cells. Every detainee entered without any personal hygiene items and one own set of clothes.
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.
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 or Filipinos like those mothers and their young children.
Even for simple infraction like overstaying for a few days can land you in such situation. A cases 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 – 03.03.2018 (Saturday)
Being a Christian believer, I started to spend time fasting and praying since there was so much of free time with nothing to do.
On this day, my colleague volunteers to send my wife to Pekan Nanas Depot to deliver my passport. But they refused to accept and told her to delivers the passport to Setia Tropika office instead. It was a wasted and futile trip.
On this night, officer MZ deliberately came to my block cell to look for me and that was the first time he saw me in Pekan Nanas.
Journal entries for day 5 – 4.3.2018 (Sunday)
Finally my wife was able to deliver my passport to Setia Tropika with the help of my colleague.
Having done this, it averts the pending serious charge of being in Malaysia without valid documentation that the Immigration IO plans to frame charges on me.
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 the Setia Tropika Immigration.
This acknowledgement receipt came in useful during my release. Initially the Immigration office claimed that they did not have my passport when requested by the officer from Ministry of Foreign Affair (MFA). My family forwarded this receipt to the MFA officer and get them to return my passport.
One can only surmise whether it is plain laziness to find the passport or their sinister motive to cause delay to my release.
First harassment act by Immigration officer
On this night, officer 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 the officer 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 Nanas?
#1 – Journal entries of isolation and all communication cut off
From the time of my arrest i.e. 28.02.2018 up to 06.03.2018, no one knows what happened to me or where am I.
The only information that everyone received was my arrest by the Malaysia Immigration 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 Magistrate within 24 hours according to their Constitution.
#2 – Inhumane conditions inside Pekan Nanas 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.
#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 at times impossible.
A full scale attempt to disinfect these wooden planks to rid of bed bugs and follows by detergent washing these planks. They organized all the detainees 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 contamination of the whole water tank.
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 tea-flavor drink.
This is the maximum food intake to sustain you but 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’ of personal hygiene items.
Immigration claimed that they had issued personal hygiene items to us but none of the detainees received any.
Immigration had provided records showing they had issued personal hygiene items to the guards. But there were no records to show these items were issued to the detainees.
Detainees had to buy personal hygiene items from the checker. The checker is the person in charge of each cell and reports back to Immigration officer.
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 office for questioning. They brought us before an Immigration officer for the first time. This immigration officer was a one-pip Sikh officer.
On this day this officer started questioning and recording oral statements from each one of us individually.
For events outside of Pekan Nanas, my family, accompanied by my neighbor, drove to Setia Tropika Immigration building. They need to get an authorization letter for my wife from the Investigation Officer to visit me on the next day.
This visit happened on the 07.03.2018. It was the first visit from my family after being in isolation and cut off from civilization for a week.
First phone call after one week of isolation
I was allowed to make only one call to my family. With his handphone, I called my wife. This call allows me to leaves 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 horrible officers.
My wife confirm that my passport had been sent to Setia Tropika Immigration office which was a big relief. This officer was still telling me about the charge of being in Malaysia without valid documentation i.e. passport. It turns out that it was a scare threat as my wife had already done so on the 04.03.2018. Much later I discovered that this officer was very scheming and been feeding lies.
My brother-in-law drove my wife back to Singapore to retrieve my computer and return to JB on the same night.
I was totally cut off and in the dark about what was happening outside the walls of Pekan Nanas. It was deliberate in this way so that the Immigration officers can manipulate and control us. They have full control over information that we received and what information my family received.
I also remember that I have made a complaint about officer MZ to him. This officer MZ has been harassing me in this place. Instead he warned me that making a complaint against an officer is a serious matter and demanded proof. It turns out that he and officer MZ are close buddy.
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