Long History of Recorded Malaysia Immigration Abuses And Complaints

Documented records of Immigration abuses and complaints

A video titled: “Immigration officer caught on camera assaulting foreigner -Malaysia” in Johor Baru sparked off a public outrage. This uncivilized behavior of a Malaysian immigration officer is just one of the many immigration abuses and complaints. This video helped bring public’s attention to the long history of Malaysia immigration abuses and complaints.

After the captured video went viral on social media and many have since came forward with their harrowing experiences and encounters with these immigration officers.

One of those who came forward was a Singaporean traveler, Joshua Lee.


“Singaporean traveler Joshua Lee, who was visiting Malaysia for an e-sports tournament, describes on Facebook how he “entered hell””. Immigration officer at Kuala Lumpur International Airport detained him on his arrival. It was because his passport will be expiring in less than six months time.”

This published article below by South China Morning Post (scmp.com) details more of these abuses and complaints apart from the above two instances.

Malaysia Secret Hell Victims of Immigration Abuses

One of the victims penned a short note for public awareness of his situation to seek help.

Courtesy of SCMP dtd 30/7/2018

More public voices on Malaysia immigration’s abuses and complaints

In more recent articles, more victims and groups are coming out to speak up openly against these abuses and complaints. It was indeed sad that these have not been under the radar of the Malaysian public. A Malaysian friend upon hearing about these abuses by Immigration was commenting that she was totally in the dark. On the other hand, her politician friend told her that it was quite rampant but carefully hidden away from public view.

This article published on 13th July 2019 listed five more times that the Immigration Department was being complained of abuses as followed:

#1. Damaging Singaporean’s passport, demanding bribe.

#2. Refusing pass extension for pregnant Indonesian woman.

#3. Screaming, hurling insults at French academic.

#4. Sued for detaining Singaporean in over-crowded, filthy cell

#5. *Detaining two babies for three weeks, refusing access to Filipino mums.
detained Filipino childrenDetained Filipino children

detained filipino released



Released Filipino mums heading home




*Note: You can read more about this complaint that even sparked a request to the Home Minister to look into this UN human rights violation. This is because Malaysia is a signatory to the law.

Read more of the above 5 More Cases of Abuses Complaints here.

#6. Singaporean man sue Malaysia immigration for unlawful detention that goes against Article 5 (1) of the Malaysia Federal Constitution. The Malaysia immigration deprived him of his basic rights under the Malaysia Federal Constitution Article 5 (1) which states as follows: no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law. He was thus put under intense pressure because of being remand unlawfully in a cruel and inhumane conditions detention cell.

#7. Rogue immigration officer illegally trespasses onto Singaporean-owned Malaysian property to engage in illicit relationship with married woman.

rogue immigration officer  Rogue immigration officer.

Death of Nigerian university student in Malaysia immigration custody

#8. This unnatural-death story article is based upon the news of a foreign Nigeria-national university student who possess a valid student pass but ended up dead. At the time of his death he was doing his post-graduate studies in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysian Immigration arrested him together with other Nigerians during one of the Immigration Department’s raid. The raid was to round up immigrants without valid documentation. He was arrested despite showing proof of his legal immigrant status. After he was arrested, he was brought back to the Immigration detention Center to be remanded for 14 days. The reason given by the officer for his arrest was because he ran when approached during the raid.

It was during his 14-days remand detention period that he suddenly faced a life-threatening situation and ended up losing his life on 9th July 2019.

Businessmen and investors moving out from Malaysia

In view of the numerous complaints that have been surfacing and the untimely death of a Nigerian detainee, more businessman and investors were moving out from Malaysia. This was due to the anti-foreigners sentiments from the public.


“A businessman who spoke to The Independent Singapore says instead of facilitating business visa extensions, the country is changing rules and moving the goal posts.”

“They are making it difficult for the families of ‘investors’ in small enterprises to get visas too,”

says French national of North African origin.

He left the country, packing up some members of his family to migrate to other destinations. It is not an isolated incident. The Immigration has had issues with foreign nationals for decades.

Foreigners Abuse Complaints

In the same article, Quote:

“The Star daily reports how a foreign student claims to have lost 10 kg and clumps of hair due to trauma after her interaction with an enforcement officer”.

The foreign national recounted that she was trying to get an e-hailing ride outside a restaurant last year but were detained. This was despite her having an iKad, a gazetted valid identification document.”

American singer arrested in Malaysia

#9.  Detained 5 days in living hell

A highly popular American singer flew in to Malaysia on the first leg of her 3-countries tour performance in Kuala Lumpur. She arrives on the 21st June 2019 for her to meet her Asian fans.

Thereafter she also has a few performance concerts lined up in Vietnam and Singapore (26th June 2019).

However she was arrested for “immigration offences” during her concert performance and was then detained for “5 days in a living hell”. This was widely reported in the online //straitstimes.com news.

Detained for 5 days in Immigration detention centre

Courtesy of online news screen grab

Released by Maggie on her Instagram on 3rd July stating she was confined in a living hell for the next five days (22nd June to 26th June 2019)

Inhumane and cruel conditions in detention cell

So it is right from the horse’s mouth here. She let us know what it was like when you are on the wrong side of the immigration law in Malaysia. It was like “5 days in living hell” in the immigration detention cell.

“This American singer is very much fortunate compared to my 35 days in “living hell”.  Readers can read more about the inhumane and cruel conditions within the walls of the detention cell here.”

According to the Malaysian Immigration, quoted:

“The Americans were fined RM300 each under the Immigration Regulations 1963 for misusing their social visit passes. And on June 25, a sponsor was charged in court for committing an offence under section 55E of the Immigration Act. This sponsor was convicted and was fined RM30,000 which was duly paid.”

It has been reported that the venue host, The Bee clarifies regarding Maggie Lindemann’s arrest, saying that it was the permit agent’s fault.

We could have endless debate on who is at fault that sees a person get arrested. What stands out here glaringly was the fact that she was unaware of the Malaysian immigration laws. She represent the many decent foreigners who may unknowingly be caught in similar situation. And like in this case, this singer was remanded and locked away in inhumane and cruel conditions. She was locked together with others liked cage animals. For days, she could not shower, brush her teeth nor have a change of clean clothes as well as having decent meals. While being detained, she cannot have visitors while her rights and privacy is taken away.

Raise awareness among foreigners

We can learn lessons from the many immigration-related issues concerning foreigners who are visiting or staying in Malaysia. This will help other foreigners to be aware of so that they do not have to face such inhumane situation.

Malaysia Denies Detaining American Singer for 5 Days Courtesy of online news screen grab

We certainly wishes this young and popular American Singer will leaves this terrible episode behind. May she rises to greater successes performing in progressive and enlightened countries.

Call to action

Of concern to the international community is the long ignored important question: Will there be accountability to ensure that the people who policed the law are also abiding by the law? The international community awaits an answer to many of the reported abuse and deaths.

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