Life Inside Malaysia Immigration Detention Center

Life inside immigration detention center, one of suffering and torture

We have read of many horror stories of illegal migrants‘ intense sufferings within the walls of Malaysia Immigration detention center. But we know very little of what they actually goes through. This blog post and many subsequent posts will shed more light for the public to know more. There is very little publish on the public domain regarding this as the Malaysia immigration will censor every information of what is within the walls of Immigration detention center. The police raid on Al Jazeera’s office is an example of this censorship. The reason is that there are too many skeletons in the immigration department regarding immigration detention center and undocumented migrants. They are very afraid the international community will know the truth about the human rights conditions in Malaysia.

While I was in their detention center, I was the only Singaporean national inside and one Australian national. No officers dared touch the Australian national. The rest are from third world countries’ migrants workers that are in Malaysia to make their living. These are mostly from Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal and a few from the poor Indochinese countries. These people are living a life of suffering and deprived of human rights and sadly, the international community is not taking enough notice of. This is a separate topic to blog on in future blog.

Hidden building of shame

Though the building is hidden away to shroud all the horrors inside in secrecy, we, having being inside, can share out to the public so that more can know.

The detention cells are in two story building and there are a total of four blocks for male detainees. Description of detention cell as follows:

Malaysia immigration detention center cell layout

Bed bugs infested and sleep deprivation

The breadth of the cell is about 16 feet of three rows of about 5.5 feet, 5 feet, 5.5 feet row. It can be estimated 16 feet for the breadth of cell. This is because the detainees are sleeping side by side in three rows. The detainees do not have enough leg room to stretch out to sleep and the average height is 5 feet 4 inches.

In the front of the cell is a raised concrete platform right up to the length to before the gate door. The length of platform is estimated about 8 feet length. Then after the platform is the metal gate door. After the gate door is the length used for sleeping up to the back metal gate door.

After this gate door is the toilet area where a water tank is. The length of this space for sleeping can be calculated. By using 22 inches for the breadth-wise of human body side by side, we calculated 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 for 130 people and is very cramped. It is surrounded by open mesh metal grill embedded onto concrete pillars walls. This is to provide for an all-round open view. The detainees can witnessed incidents happening outside. Sometimes they witnessed detainees getting beaten up. It is also meant to ensure that the detainees are being watched 24/7 hours X 365 days.

There are two rows of raised level that have wooden planks that were designed for sleeping. However these planks are infested with blood-sucking and disease-carrying bed bugs which makes sleeping at times impossible.

Unhygienic sanitation and water contamination

There are four open-concept-with-no-privacy WC for 130 people and usually one of this is out-of-order.

Hand scoop is provided to scoop water and used for cleaning off the faeces. This same water tank is used to hold water for shower as well as used for cleaning the food trays after each meals.

Because the cell is on the lower floor, it is also used to hold people with disabilities. Occasionally, an old man who cannot walks just release his faeces on the floor of the toilet. At other occasionally times, he release his faeces at where he sleeps. This is the kind of nightmarish scenario that detainees have to be subjected to.

And today the international community is fixated and bringing international attention on the human rights of Uighur in Xinjiang, China. Why not on this sordid place in Malaysia?

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Simon Koh

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