Wayang Kulit And Imigresen’s Hand
Immigration’s trap set to ensnare foreigners
Beware of immigration’s trap and their *wayang kulit, such occurrences though few in between is common for certain category of people. This category is usually the unwary foreigners. * – Wayang Kulit is a traditional form of puppet-shadow play originally found in the cultures of Java, Bali and Lombok in Indonesia.
I had shared out on what it will be like to be caught in this trap in a few earlier posts. I had described of the cruel and inhumane conditions being locked in their Immigration detention center. This is a place called Depot Imigresen Pekan Nanas Johor (in Malay). Read here for story on what the detainees suffered in Pekan Nanas.
Wayang kulit from detention to sentencing part
Around the end of Mar 2018, I was brought before their magistrate to face charges. There were around thirty people together who were brought before one magistrate. I guessed it is very cost effective to have just one magistrate to clear all the many foreign migrants’ cases.
On that day, there were a few local Chinese Malaysians have to attend court as well. They have committed some minor immigration offences and have to turn up in this court. They just walked in because they are local whereas all foreigners are in handcuffs just like caught animals.
Having been detained here for 27 days (28.02.2018 to 26.03.2018), I witnessed that foreigners in their custody were treated worse than animals. Detainees were handcuffed and linked together when they are moved around outside their detention cell.
These officers love dragging a few long chains of interlinked handcuffs on the ground. It would made the eerie sound of dragging chains against the hard concrete ground. The imagery is like the mythical belief of the two demons with chains to capture souls to Hades.
The wayang kulit via Immigration Magistrates’ Court
The court building is within the Pekan Nanas Detention compound. It is known as Mahkamah Sesyen Khas Pati Pekan Nanas. Mahkamah is the Malay word for court in English. I managed to learn some Malay word like Mahkamah. The other Malay word I learned is Penjara which is Malay for jail. Other than these nefarious-linked words, cause of my nightmare experience, it is pointless for me to learn Malay. Whenever I remember such words, it will triggers negative and unpleasant memories. Every one of us were handcuffed together and walked over to the building.
All the immigration offenders were seated in rows after rows just like the rows in Singapore parliament layout. Facing us in the front of the hall is the magistrate. Some of these offenders are snared by all these immigration traps. The magistrate was seated on a raised chair with a very high back to make him look the most important guy in the room. He also understood that he was making some life-changing decisions which are serious matters.
The Immigration court proceeding
The proceedings went like clockwork. An officer would read the charge to the offender. The magistrate would then asked the offender what is his plea. You can hear the same chorus sung every time to the tune of “plead guilty”. I have not heard any different version from hearing every single one of them. Then the magistrate allowed the offender to say a word or two. After this, he pronounced the sentencing and then it moved on to the next offender.
If it is a “not guilty” plea, I was told that another date which will be a long time away for a trial will be set. But before the date of trial, they will then take you back to the detention cell to wait for further news.
That will be another procedure that will be a long and complicated process for foreigners. Only a Malaysian can be your bailor if you want to be set free. You can be sure that the Immigration will object strongly to your release on bail. This has been proven beyond any doubt in my fight to overturn this injustice when considering the fact that the Immigration objected to my presence to cross examine them in open court hearing and it was allowed.
Certainly a wayang kulit and the hand of immigration on the whole process more than a court proceeding. More posts and stories on their court proceeding to be shared upon the closure of the case.
The unfolding events before the trial
I heard from some detainees that he was an eleventh hour substitute for a lady magistrate. It is a good thing as this absent lady magistrate has a preference for jail instead of fines for most cases.
There is some grounds for this rumor because the rogue officer (who wowed to make sure that I will be jailed) seemed to be convinced that I will be getting a jail sentence from this lady Magistrate. On the day after my sentencing, he came rushing to confirm whether there was a jail term. I watched him conversing with my investigating officer animatedly upon rushing to the compound outside the Immigration Court from somewhere outside of Pekan Nanas.
To sought divine favor, I fasted and prayed ten days for a fair-minded magistrate. And a fair-minded Magistrate I gotten who ordered a minimum fine sentence according to the range of punishment the Acts prescribed.
As he was not informed that the lady magistrate had been substituted at the last minute, he ended up deeply disappointed. For me it was a respite from my bad situation of being snared in this immigration trap.
This is a place full of darkness and eeriness, of animal instincts, of brutality and senseless beating of some detainees. There are brutal beating witnessed that cannot be unseen. I could only watched helplessly while all these are happening in this cursed place. God’s mercies be upon us all.
Those moment before I face the magistrate
I met my lawyer for a last minute discussion. His ”arr…s“are reinforcing what he had said to me earlier would happened if I do not plead guilty. It is without question that these immigration will just played me all way as they done thus far. They will find every excuses to detain me for a long long time while I wait for a trial date from the court.
It is also beyond any doubts of their evil intentions during my nearly 4 weeks of interactions and observations of these officers. They are going to keep me in their cruel and inhumane detention center to wait a long wait for a trial date. There is no way for me to fight my case. The officers are dead-set to keep me detained and no one can do anything about it. We, (family, lawyers, detainees) have all seen and knew it from these terrible people.
Meeting with lawyer in the presence of immigration officers part of wayang kulit
My lawyer was totally stonewalled by a scheming immigration officer, Mr P. S. He had requested for information relating to my case but got none. With zero information, he came to meet me after writing in for Immigration’s approval. He was allowed one visit/meeting only.
This one meeting is limited to half an hour. The meeting took place 5 days before I was brought before the magistrate. About my meeting with him, it was in a big open office/meeting room.
This meeting between my lawyer and myself was conducted openly with no privacy. It was in the presence of immigration officers listening in and watching our movements. A guard was also assigned and stationed in the same room. He was standing guard with an intimidating beating baton.
Access to counsel for a court trial is only a wayang kulit as can be seen from what happened.
Total isolation to prevent from getting any help
Since the day I was taken from my property into immigration custody, no Singapore Embassy personnel had visited me throughout.
On the 4th day of my detention, I was moved to Pekan Nanas Detention Center. While here I managed to send a message to my wife. It was a request to make an urgent plea to the Singapore Embassy to intervene on my predicament. However there was no help from the embassy or visit from them.
A Malaysian pastor acquaintance visited me on the 10th day after Immigration granted him approval to visit. He told me that he had visited Setia Tropika immigration to give a recorded statement. He provided his testimony on my character and the context of the case. After giving his statement, the officer, Mr P.S. suggested to him to act as his intermediary. This acquaintance was implicitly asked to pass a message to my family about this officer’s “help” via a “fixer”. You can read more of this here.
My wife was allowed permission to visit me only on the 15th day of my detention by the senior officer, Mr M.H.B.K who was also the arresting officer. This is a three-pip senior officer (at the time of raid) who leads the team to raid my property. He is also the same officer who infringed their Federal Constitution by detaining me for 27 days without a Magistrate remand order.
The considerations to weigh before deciding on pleading of “guilty” or “not guilty”
This immigration trap that I am being ensnared is a 100% lose-lose situation facing me. To plead not guilty will caused you to languish for an indeterminate period within these immigration walls under cruel and inhumane conditions. And historically, people were stucked with a case that stretches for years.
It would cost me my life to continue in such circumstances. Within 4 months plus after release, I had a heart attack occurring. Read the story here.
Because I am back in Singapore, I was able to get treatment from a world-class hospital and survived. In this evil place, it is a sure death because you have to wait and wait even for an emergency. The officers have to follow the standard operating procedures (SOP) on all their duties and timings. I was fortunate to come out alive from this immigration trap.
To plead guilty would helped me regained my freedom to continue life with my family, friends and manage all my major issues with properties and cars. This will however have a big price to pay but will be a better option for me under such extreme cruel and inhumane treatments. I decided it is better to manage whatever the heavy price to pay and get out alive from this place as early as I can.
Judging from my narrow escape from possible death due to heart attack by getting emergency treatment in Singapore hospital, it proves this is the correct decision.
Lawyer’s report regarding my detention used in immigration trap
In June 2019 I sought many details and a report from my lawyer according to what he knows and to provide me his report. In his report regarding my remand under Malaysia laws, he made the following points:
#1. “The law requires that I should have to be brought before the immigration Magistrates’ Court again within the next 4 days from the day of arrest which is today for a remand order”. However this was never done.
#2. “the law requires that I should have to be brought before the immigration Magistrates’ Court again within the next 7 days from the day of arrest which is today for a remand order”. However this was never done.
The location of the immigration Magistrates’ Court is inside the Pekan Nanas immigration compound. The only time that I had been in this immigration Magistrates’ Court building was during my trial. Apart from the actual trial, I had never been in any building or environment with a court proceeding at all.
Hence it was a false claim to the court that I was presented before a magistrate for my 27 days remand order.
I was remanded and detained inside the cell throughout the full 27 days except for these few days. These few days outside the cell are the days for family and friends visitations, questionings and a doctor visit.
Malaysian Bar Press Release (applicable to this imigresen wayang kulit)
“At the remand hearing, the police sought a four–day remand order. However, this was only in respect of the allegation of obstruction of a public servant under section 186, and interestingly, there was no reference of the initial allegation of kidnapping. After hearing submissions from all parties, the Magistrate refused to grant the application for remand.”
The independence of an advocate and solicitor to act for a client without fear or favour is fundamental to the administration of justice. A lawyer must at all times be allowed to advance a client’s rights without obstruction or impediment, or fear of prosecution for carrying out his or her duties as an officer of the Court. Any unwarranted interference with the discharge of such duties is a serious violation of the independence of the legal profession, and an affront to the administration of justice.”Malaysian Bar Press Release | Abuse of Police Investigative and Detentive Powers Must Stop dated 25th June 2018
This press release confirm the wayang kulit and imigresen’s hand in this case.
It is a vicious immigration trap using remand for 27 days before trial
Based on the facts that I was remanded for 27 days without a Magistrate order, I am now pursuing for justice against this infringement of their own Federal Constitution. This was an evil act and heinous injustice hoisted upon me as a foreigner who was legally allowed to reside in Malaysia under Make Malaysia 2nd Home (MM2H).
In the course of the fight against this injustice in the court, strange thing happened. The arresting senior officer, Mr M.H.B.K. who had remanded me had inadvertently given me a piece of hard evidence – the original Magistrate order. This evidence reveals the truth regarding the claim about the magistrate remand order. Then he produced a “tampered” un-signed order to contradict the original Magistrate order in his futile attempt to cover up his malfeasance. What an evil man and shameless officer on full display. That will be another story for another day of more wayang kulit.
Moral of the story: Beware of traps by immigration officers in Malaysia and their wayang kulit
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