Saturday, June 18, 2011

Singaporeans In Johor Bahru (2)

Immigration Must Justify Nude Squat Incident

I WRITE in response to the recent “nude squat” incident involving two Singaporean ladies.
As a female, I would like to express my outrage.

I think that it is important for the Home Ministry to answer what the ladies did to deserve such treatment from Malaysian Immigration.

From my own experience, Johor Immigration officers do “skip” checking the passports of those who go through Malaysian Immigration (in or out) by car.

The officers would just ask “Malaysia”? I nod my head and they let me through without checking my passport.

I had experienced this several times while travelling in a Malaysian registered car.

This means that anyone in a Malaysian registered vehicle can run the possibility of going through Immigration check without a valid entry/exit stamp.

In the case of the two Singaporeans, it could possibly be the error of both the women and Malaysian Immigration for failing to ensure that the passports were stamped.

Nevertheless, I do not think that this warrants degrading them, unless the Immigration Department can justify it.

As a Malaysian working in Singapore, I find it embarrassing to defend my own country over such acts.

I have been treated with respect by Singapore Immigration all this time.
I hope that foreigners who come into Malaysia are as well treated. 


Source: The Star - Friday, June 17, 2011 


Immigration director-general Datuk Alias Ahmad said they will be looking into how we can improve on the current standard operating procedures if needed.

Meanwhile, the women would submit their written statements to the Singapore Foreign Ministry (MFA).
MFA would then hand over the statements to the Malaysian High Commission.
The ministry hope this will help the Malaysian investigators come to a quick conclusion.
They will closely monitor the outcome of the official investigation.

Chang, a manager in an insurance company, said she would take legal action, though she had not met a lawyer.
She had been driven to Johor Bahru by her friend, Lim, a property agent, at about 1.30am.

However, Lim said she would let the matter rest after making a formal complaint.
If she wants to sue, she will have to enter Malaysia to go for the hearing, but she does not want to step into Malaysia anymore.

Lim had been driven there before by friends.
But on that fateful early morning, she was driving her new Nissan Latio for the first time into Malaysia, and went through an unmanned immigration lane.

The ladies had unknowingly driven right through the immigration check point when they did not find officials manning the booth, while the gantry was left wide open and showing a green light.
Lim failed to get both their passports stamped by immigration officials.
They made a U-turn on the Causeway to admit their mistake to the officials.

Their nightmare began when they were handcuffed for not having their passports checked at the Causeway.
Immigration officers detained them for several hours at the checkpoint.

They were later brought to the Pekan Nenas detention centre where there were about 50 other people, mostly Filipinos and Indonesians.
They were thrown behind bars, pending investigations to their case.
They were also threatened with a RM$10,000 fine and told to strip off clothings and performed 10 squats after a full body check.

The horror saga ended 48 hours later when they were released after the Deputy Public Prosecutor in charge of the case decided that they should be deported.
They were eventually let off to return to Singapore at 5pm with a stern warning and made to sign a document in Malay that they did not understand.

Superintendent Nazri of the Johor Immigration Authorities said conducting body search sometimes requires detainees to remove their clothing for thorough checks.
They are sometimes strip-searched but squats are not standard procedure.

He added that the Johor Immigration had completed its investigations and has already submitted a report to its headquarters.


Block Off Unmanned Immigration Lanes

I REFER to the the recent incident involving two Singaporean women who drove to Johor Baru recently for supper and were detained overnight by Malaysian immigration officers (“Arrests of Singaporeans done according to law” – The Star, June 15).

Apparently, at the Malaysian immigration side of the Causeway, they drove into a lane that was not manned.

“There wasn’t anyone at the station and the green light was on,” reported one of the women. “I pressed the intercom and couldn’t hear anything because of the static, so I just continued driving when the barrier opened.”

As a frequent traveller on the Causeway, the above scenario is totally palpable as unmanned booths are not gated off nor are the Touch n Go pads deactivated. This allows the barriers to go up once tapped to pay the toll.

It totally defeats all additional security measures currently imposed especially in regards to biometric scanning when this blatantly evident loophole allows any person to circumvent the system.

I have noticed many Malaysian drivers driving through in the same manner as their passports need not be stamped.

On most occasions, only visual inspections of Malaysian passports are done upon entry/exit. As no information is recorded, authorities would not be able to tell if a person has bypassed the normal immigration procedures.

In contrast, the Singaporean authorities block off any immigration booth that is unmanned to avoid such happenings. The toll card readers are also deactivated as they are incorporated into the single immigration booth.

The immigration officer also ensures that the toll is paid and handles any problem/discrepancies with the cardreaders. This actually saves on manpower cost as well as enhancing security.

The immigration officer himself activates the lifting of the security barrier and it does not lift automatically even if the toll is paid. This is unlike the Touch n Go pads at the Johor checkpoint which, it seems, are virtually activated all the time.

I hope this security loophole will be plugged to ensure that our borders are well secured as well as to prevent any genuine visitor from inadvertently being caught on the wrong side of the law by their carelessness or ignorance. 

Johor Baru.

Source: The Star - Thursday, June 16, 2011

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