Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Beware of "efficient" Malaysian custom officers

From: "The Cynic"

Previously there were reports that Malaysian Immigration guys will let in
travellers without stamping their passports and later charge them with
illegal entry. There were also allegations that such victims can "negotiate"
for freedom. Now, the report below tells of another tactic.

S'porean held for leaving M'sia illegally

JOHOR BARU: Thirteen Malaysians and a Singaporean were detained recently for
leaving the country illegally through the Customs, Immigration and
Quarantine Complex (CIQ).

However, those detained, which included two women, claimed they rode past
the immigration booth for motorcyclists on their way to work on Thursday but
it was unmanned and the barrier gate was up.

During her detention, one of the women pillion riders, who was five-weeks
pregnant with her first child, had a miscarriage.

Yesterday, husband Evaraj Subramaniam, 23, said he and his wife, Indra
Arumugam, 23, were travelling to Singapore on their motorcycle as usual when
they were stopped at the end of the motorcycle lane at 6.30am.

Evaraj, a site supervisor, said the officer asked why did they not scan
their passports and when they explained there was no one at the counter and
the barrier gate was open, the officer replied they were at fault for not

He said they were then detained and taken to the CIQ holding centre.

Evaraj said the men and women were then separated and taken to different
cells there.

"At around 5pm, Indra was taken to the hospital for a medical check-up and
then taken to the Pekan Nenas detention centre," he said, adding that an
immigration officer contacted him at 5.30pm to say "bini awak tak mengandung
(your wife is not pregnant)."

"I was released the next day after posting police bail but I'm now worried
for Indra's health and safety as she is still at the centre."

Evaraj was speaking to reporters during a press conference organised by
Skudai assemblyman Dr Boo Cheng Hau here yesterday. All the Malaysians who
had been detained were present.

Ong Yan Hui, 32, who works as a clerk in Singapore, said the incident was a
"huge embarrassment."

Ong, who shared the same cell as Indra, said she told the immigration
officer that Indra was in pain but no one attended to her.

Engineer Gary Nagenchandra, 32, also said it was not the first time the
barrier was up and the booth unmanned.

"Sometimes when we ride past, the officers will not even look at our
passports, let alone scan them. Some of them will be reading the newspaper
or even smoking."

He too said he explained the booth was unmanned but the officer said he
should have stopped anyway.

Dr Boo urged the immigration department to investigate the case.

State immigration director Nasri Ishak could not be contacted for comment.

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