Nigerian Author Shares The Horrible Racism He Allegedly Encountered In Malaysia

According to Ocheni, a Malaysian immigration officer told him, "We do not allow your kind here!"

Cover image via @suleiman_toks (TikTok) & Omar Elsharawy/Pexels

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Having lived in various places all across the globe, Nigerian author and poet Suleiman Ocheni has experiences with diverse cultures.

Unfortunately, his short trip to Malaysia years ago proved to be one of the most uncomfortable and degrading in his life.

In a stitched TikTok that has since taken the Internet by storm, Ocheni responded to a video by TikTok user Malaika Norman, which was about why she will never visit countries with people who are not welcoming to individuals of various African ethnic groups, and are racist in their demeanour.

Shedding light on his personal experience, Ocheni explained in a three-minute clip why he will "never again" visit Malaysia.

Screen grabs from Ocheni's TikTok video.

Image via @suleiman_toks (TikTok)

Describing the series of events, Ocheni stated that in 2016, when he was a student, he made the decision to visit two university friends in Malaysia, both of whom he had not seen for about five to six years

Prior to that, Ocheni mentioned that his father had warned him against going to Malaysia, saying that he should only stay in one place. Deciding to go nonetheless, Ocheni expressed that he used his savings to afford the trip to Malaysia.

Upon arriving in Kuala Lumpur, Ocheni stated that things were all well and merry with his friends, until they decided to go island hopping in Sabah. Providing context for the story, Ocheni mentioned that his other two friends were of Indian and Ugandan descent. While plans for the trip went smoothly, things soon went awry after they landed in Sabah.

"In the plane, people were staring at us like they've never seen black people in their lives. That should have been our first clue. Anyway, we get to Sabah and go through immigration, which I didn't understand why as it was a domestic flight. My Ugandan friend and I, the only two black people in the line, were taken to a separate room," he explained.

Having waited alone for a while, Ocheni stated that the authorities handed his Ugandan friend's passport back to her, but told Ocheni that he was not allowed to enter Sabah.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via yousef alfuhigi/Unsplash

According to Ocheni, a Malaysian immigration officer told him, "We do not allow your kind here!" in reference to Nigerians

Wanting to avoid trouble, Ocheni agreed to go back to Kuala Lumpur. However, things soon became more problematic after the immigration officers allegedly told Ocheni to pay for his own deportation fees.

"I'm a student, we bought these tickets eight months ago and they were dirt cheap. I didn't have any money to pay for another ticket to go back. Then, he said that they would pay for me to go back to Kuala Lumpur — as though he was doing me a favour," Ocheni stated.

When the time came for him to leave, Ocheni said that he was given a police escort to the plane to Kuala Lumpur. After returning and trying to make the most of his time alone in Kuala Lumpur, Ocheni decided to go out and see the city, which he described as a "big mistake".

"Taxi cabs would refuse to stop for me in the street because I am a black person. I'd go to restaurants and wait staff would not take my order because I am a black person," he continued.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Omar Elsharawy/Pexels

During his final moments in Malaysia, Ocheni stated that he encountered further issues at the airport once again.

"Literally, when I was finally getting ready to leave the country, in the queue to get onto the plane, five security agents in red gear surrounded me and asked me questions such as what I was doing and where I was going. They'd flash my passport to see if it was real," he added.

In his concluding thoughts, Ocheni stated that if he were to ever step foot in Malaysia again, his "left kidney would shift".

Receiving 1.5 million views and about 250,000 likes at the time of writing, many people chimed in with their thoughts on Ocheni's post

Offering up their sympathies, many people were struck by Ocheni's story and what it was like for him during his brief time in Malaysia.

Image via TikTok
Image via TikTok

Giving their take on his story, other individuals who are of African descent also expressed their hesitance to visit Malaysia, saying that it's not worth their mental health to be put through a similar situation.

"Thanks for sharing your story, they're definitely not on my bucket list anymore," wrote one user.

Image via TikTok
Image via TikTok

A few Malaysians were also part of the responders who felt for Ocheni and his time in Malaysia, with some even admitting that there are many locals who are still like that.

"I'm Malaysian and I'm so so so so sorry this happened to you. There is a lot of racism in this country," said one person.

Image via TikTok
Image via TikTok

Among the plethora of comments, the most heartbreaking came from those who shared in Ocheni's experience when they were (or are) in Malaysia

From those who studied in Malaysia for a limited period of time to those who have been residing in the country for 10 years, some even admitted to it being worse here when compared to other countries.

"And you are right, the discrimination here is another level, forget racism in the West!" added one user.

Image via TikTok
Image via TikTok
Image via TikTok
Image via TikTok

In a brief conversation with SAYS, Ocheni revealed that he would like for Malaysians to know that the effects of racism are not merely fleeting

"The way we are maltreated in Malaysia leaves permanent wounds. Wounds, which at the end of the day, can have adverse effects on Malaysia and Malaysians," he stated.

Adding context to his opinion, Ocheni believes that the dependence of countries on one another, commercially and socially, may put Malaysia, as a nation, behind due to their lack of acceptance of members from different countries.

"After what I experienced, I cannot in good faith recommend Malaysia to any black person, especially Nigerians. I'm sure my experience wouldn't be the experience of every black person in Malaysia. However, after what I went through, I wouldn't recommend it to any black person," he added.

Nevertheless, Ocheni was also forthright in stating how he did experience friendly and accepting Malaysians, though it was unfortunate that the bad experiences dwarfed the good ones. Closing his thoughts, Ocheni's message to Malaysians is simply this:

We are human beings and we should be treated with the basic respect that it accords.
Suleiman Ocheni

Watch the full TikTok below:

@suleiman_toks @lmfaomal The kind of premium rac|$m I experienced in Malaysia.. #storytime #travellingwhileblack original sound - Suleiman

Last year, we spoke to three Indians on what it's like living as one of the smallest minorities in Malaysia:

#Racism is NEVER okay. Here are some stories to learn by:

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