Wayang Kulit And Imigresen’s Hand

Immigration officer’s involvement to trap foreigners

Beware of immigration officer’s involvement in trapping foreigners and their *wayang kulit*, such occurrences though few, is common for certain category of people. This category is the unwary foreigners whether as tourists, as students, as migrant workers or even as long-term social visa program stay in Malaysia.

* – 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 on what it will be like to be caught in this kind of trap in a few posts earlier. In these posts, I had shared about the cruel and inhumane conditions of their immigration detention depot. There is this detention depot called Depot Imigresen Pekan Nanas Johor (in Malay). Read here for story on what the detainees experienced in Pekan Nenas Detention Depot.

Wayang kulit and imigresen’s hand seen from the “illegal detention to magistrate sentencing” part

Around the end of Mar 2018 on 26.3.2018, I was brought before an immigration court magistrate to face a charge. There were about thirty people altogether who were brought before one magistrate. Such a number of immigration cases being dealt with in a few short hours must be very cost effective to have just one magistrate to clear these many foreign migrants’ cases. It is cheap, fast and easy, so there is no need for consideration of foreigners’ human rights and justice for foreigners in Malaysia anyway.

On this day, there were a few local Malaysians of Chinese ethnicity who were in the court as well. They have committed offences under the Immigration Act 155 and have to turn up in court on this day.

They just walked into the kampong- style courtroom and sat down on the benches. The court is inside the same compound as the Pekan Nenas Immigration Detention Depot, making it very kampong-style and family-like events.

Unfortunately for foreigners, all foreigners are chained together in handcuffs because non-citizens are discriminated in Malaysia. This is the reality and the hypocrisy that foreigners will shockingly find out when they are defenseless victims purportedly on the wrong side of the law. With the many cases as reported in the news regularly of corruptions within the Immigration Department of Malaysia, one can easily ended up as a defenseless victim of corruption.

On a side note: I observed that these immigration guards love dragging a few long chains of interlinked handcuffs on the ground. This dragging would make the eerie sound of iron chains against the hard concrete ground. The imagery and sound are like the mythical belief of the horsehead demon and cow-head demon with their chains to capture souls to hell.

Federal Constitution and Immigration Act 155 1959/1963

The law of Malaysia, the Federal Constitution of Malaysia in Article 5(4) enshrines that a person arrested must be brought before a magistrate within 24 hours.

FC article 5(4)

However, Parliament in Malaysia has amended Article 5(4) with the addition of the following proviso into their Immigration Act 1959/1963 as follows:

51(5)(a) where any person who is a citizen is arrested or detained under this Act otherwise than for an offence against this Act, and has not been earlier released, he shall without unreasonable delay, and in any case within twenty-four hours (excluding the time for any necessary journey) be produced before a Magistrate and shall not be further detained in custody without the Magistrate’s authority; and

51(5)(b) where any person other than a citizen is arrested or detained under this Act, whether for an offence against this Act or otherwise than for such offence, and has not been earlier released, or charged in court for an offence against this Act or removed from Malaysia under this Act, he shall, within fourteen days of his arrest or detention, be produced before a Magistrate who shall make an order for his detention for such period as may be required by an immigration officer or a police officer for the purpose of investigations into an offence against this Act.

This proviso in their Immigration Act differentiates the Magistrate Remand Order requirement between citizens and non-citizen. This is an anti-foreigner and anti-human rights Act.

Act 155 section 51(5)(b)

The wayang kulit and imigresen’s hand seen via immigration court within immigration depot compound

The immigration court building is within the Pekan Nenas Detention Depot compound. This will make every court proceeding shrouded in secrecy as the Pekan Nenas Depot compound is a security-protected compound that is off-limit to the public.

It is known officially 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 word for jail. Other than these nefariously linked words and the cause of my nightmare experience, it is useless for me to learn Malay language. Whenever I hear or remember such words, it will bring back negative and unpleasant memories.

Every one of us detainees were handcuffed together and herded into the kampong-style immigration court building. All these scenes are shrouded in secrecy from the public except for some local Malaysian offenders and two lawyers who had to appear in this immigration court. On this day in the immigration court, I noted that I am the only one with lawyers in attendance.

All the people with immigration cases were seated in rows after rows just like the rows in some parliament layout seating.

In the front of the courtroom hall is the magistrate with two or three court officials facing all the people with immigration cases. Some of these foreigners coming here today are unfortunately ensnared by some immigration raid provided by tip-off from informants in collusion with immigration officers. I have heard many tales of such collusions and set-ups from fellow detainees while in detention together with them.

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. Believe me, it is life-changing for many of the poor migrant workers from very poor villages back in their countries.

The immigration court proceeding

The proceedings for each person to be charged went like clockwork. Sometimes the proceeding will be for one individual and sometimes it will be for a group of people.

A court official would read the charge to the foreigner. The magistrate would then ask the foreigner what his plea is. You can hear the same “chorus” of “plead guilty” sung all the time. I have not heard a different “chorus” after hearing every single one of them.

It is not unexpected that everyone being charged in this prison-styled environment set in kampong-setting immigration court with court proceeding shrouded behind high wall would quickly plead guilty, hope for the best and move on quickly, whatever defense and explanation these detainees can provide to the magistrate.

Then the magistrate allowed the foreigner to say a word or two which really is a waste of time and effort. After this, Magistrate ABB pronounced the sentencing and then it moved on to the next person to hear what he is here for.

If it is a “not guilty” plea, my Malaysian lawyer, YHK told me that the immigration officers will take me back to be detained till another date set by the immigration court. Usually the new trial date (if such proceeding can be called a trial) will be quite some time away. I was also told by my lawyer that before the day of a new trial, the immigration officers will just continue to lock you up in the same detention cell to wait for further news. This could be months of waiting inside their detention cell.

This scenario of being locked indefinitely (at immigration officer’s whims and fancies) for as long as the immigration officers decide is now 100% confirm to be true. I have proven this allegation through the high court in Malaysia and obtain the declaration that the Immigration Department of Malaysia had disregard a court discharge order and detain me illegally, unlawfully and unconstitutionally contrary to the discharge order as shown below:

Declaration by High Court of illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional detention from 27.3.2018 to 3.4.2018.

Note: You can only win such a court order when you fight the Immigration Department of Malaysia from outside of their influence and control and outside of Malaysia. More specifically, it is because I am back in Singapore and under the jurisdiction of the Singapore government when pursuing justice in my legal fight.

Does anyone believe that he/she would have a fair trial with such oppressive and anti-human rights closed environment? What a foreigner can only obtain is a “wayang kulit and the imigresen’s hand” more than a court proceeding and trial.

The reasons for the above are as follows:

1. The procedure for foreigner, while waiting for trial is very different from a Malaysian citizen. It is a long and complicated process. Firstly, only a Malaysian can be your bailor if you want to be set free. Secondly, you can be sure that the Immigration Department of Malaysia will object strongly to your release on bail and your chance of being free outside is nil. This has been proven beyond any doubt in my fight to overturn this injustice when considering the fact that the Immigration Department of Malaysia objected to my presence to cross examine them in open court hearing and it was allowed by the judge.

2. You are in a foreign land, detained in inhumane conditions, controlled under threat by baton-wielding immigration guards 24/7, with no access to necessary resources or difficult-to-access necessary resources.

3. The outcome is 99% predictable based on the past history of immigration offences cases and so I am not naive to risk my life. This was eventually proven to be the case that I could have died inside this detention cell place.

The unfolding events before the trial

I heard from some detainees that the magistrate, ABB was an eleventh-hour replacement for a lady magistrate. It is a good thing as this absent lady magistrate, according to fellow detainees’ understanding, has a preference for sentencing people to jail for most cases.

There are some grounds for this rumor because the immigration officer, MZ and his girlfriend, JS had vowed to make sure that I will end up in jail, seemed to be convinced that I will be getting a jail sentence from this lady magistrate who ended up absent. JS brag to her sister, ML about her vow on the 14.3.2018 as recorded in diary.

Diary of event. JS visiting her immigration boyfriend, MZ and her sister, ML visiting her boyfriend, CBS

On the day after my sentencing, MZ came rushing back from somewhere to confirm with immigration officer, PS what was my jail term. I watched him conversing with PS animatedly upon reaching the compound outside the immigration court.

To sought divine favor, I fasted and prayed ten days for a fair-and-just-minded magistrate. And a fair-and-just-minded magistrate was given. Magistrate ABB ordered the minimum fine sentence according to the range of sentencing that the Immigration Act prescribed.

As immigration officer MZ was not informed that the lady magistrate had been replaced at the very last minute, he came and found out no jail time for me and ended up deeply disappointed.

But for me it was a relief from a very terrible fate after being ensnared in MZ and his girlfriend, JS’s immigration entrapment.

This is a place of darkness and eeriness, of animal instincts, of brutality and senseless beating of some detainees. There was brutal beating one witnessed that cannot be unseen. All detainees could only watch while these atrocities are happening in this cursed place. God’s mercies be upon us all.

Those moment before I face the magistrate

I met my lawyer, YHK for a last-minute discussion. His ”arr…s“are reinforcing what he had said to me earlier would happen if I do not plead guilty. It is without question that these immigration officers will just fix me all the way as they have done thus far. They will find every excuse to detain me for a long time and employ all means to make me capitulate to their will. I could not afford to wait for a long trial date from this immigration court in such hostile environment.

It is also beyond any doubts of these immigration officers’ evil intentions during my 4 weeks of interactions and observations of these immigration officers and guards. They are going to make sure that I will be locked inside their cruel and inhumane detention depot to wait a long wait for a trial date if I am going to plead not guilty. There is no way to fight my case fairly in such oppressive and hostile environment. The immigration officers, especially MZ and PS are determined to keep me detained and no one can have the power to do anything about it. Even lawyers are fearful of these officers as I found out. We, (family, lawyers, detainees) have all witnessed and knew about these terrible immigration officers that has been described above.

Open meeting with lawyer in the presence of immigration officers a part of the “wayang kulit and imigresen’s hand”

My lawyer, YHK told me he was totally stonewalled by the scheming immigration officer, PS. He had requested for information and details relating to my case but got nothing. With zero information, he came to meet me after writing in for approval from the investigating officer, MHBK. Lawyer YHK was allowed one visit for half an hour meeting only.

The meeting took place 5 days before I was brought before the magistrate to face a charge. 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 burly immigration guard armed with a beating stick was also assigned and stationed in the same room. He was standing guard and watching us in an intimidating manner.

Access to counsel for a court trial as guarantee under the Malaysian Federal Constitution Article 5(3) as follows: “Where a person is arrested, he shall be informed as soon as may be of the ground of his arrest and shall be allowed to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice” is only a “wayang kulit and imigresen’s hand” as can be seen from what happened and described

Total isolation to prevent from getting any help

Since the day I was taken from my old bungalow property that was given to use for charity at Taman Perintis into Immigration Department of Malaysia custody, no Singapore Consular personnel or officer was allowed or had visited me throughout my period of detention. I do not know what information was provided by the Immigration Department of Malaysia officers to the Singapore Consular Attaché but believed such messages were lies and falsehoods. This is what has been proven from my Saman Pemula No. WA-24-5-01/2020 court case that these immigration officers are capable of.

On the morning of 2.3.2018, I was moved to Pekan Nanas Detention Depot. While here I managed to secretly sms a message to my wife. It was a request to make an urgent plea for help to the Singapore Consulate to intervene on my predicament. However, there was no help from the Consulate or visit from them.

A Malaysian acquaintance, Ps JM visited me on the 9.3.2018 after the investigating immigration officer, MHBK granted him approval to visit me. He told me that he had visited Setia Tropika Immigration HQ to give a recorded statement. He provided his testimony on my character and the background information about the case.

He also told me repeatedly that immigration officer PS and MHBK are kind and helpful people and they wanted to “help” me and I need not waste money on lawyer. He also mentioned that he will be meeting my family to discuss about helping me on my case.

It is apparent now that he was being manipulated by immigration officer, PS to be an intermediary to carry Officer PS’s message of “help me” to my family. Earlier on the 6.3.2018, PS had passed his HP contact to my wife, the purpose is for my wife to call to speak with me then. That was most likely his method of opening a communication channel with my family for a backdoor deal through a “fixer”.

The considerations to weigh before deciding on “plead guilty” or “not guilty”

On hindsight, the decision to plead guilty in such a “wayang kulit and the imigresen’s hand” circumstances are the correct decision

This immigration trap that I am being ensnared is a 100% lose-lose situation facing me. To plead not guilty will caused me to be detained for an indeterminate period inside their cruel and inhumane conditions detention cell. Historically, foreigners do get detained for long period, and I had encountered these foreigners while inside.

It would cost me my life to continue in such circumstances. Within 4 months after my release, I had a heart attack.

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 for the availability of an immigration guard even for a life-and-death emergency. Should you died, Immigration Department of Malaysia would not be responsible as seen in the case of the death of this Nigerian national PhD student who was detained unlawfully. It was by the grace of God that I came out alive from this Pekan Nenas Detention Depot and the snare of evil immigration officers.

Heart attack hospitalization within 17 weeks after release.

To plead guilty would help 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 escape from death by getting emergency treatment in Singapore hospital for my heart attack, it proves this is the correct decision.

Malaysian Bar Press Release (applicable to this wayang kulit and the imigresen’s hand)

“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 favor 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 is appropriate to pin here in “wayang kulit and the imigresen’s hand”.

Moral of the story: Beware of treacherous, cunning, corrupt and evil immigration officers in Malaysia as seen in this “wayang kulit and the imigresen’s hand”

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