JPA Denies Senior Civil Servant Publicly Berated Immigration Officer At KLIA

Following the allegation made by the Immigration Services Union of Peninsular Malaysia (KPISM), the Public Service Department (JPA) released a conflicting statement, saying the claims are baseless and malicious.

Cover image via New Straits Times & Astro Awani

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Public Service Department (JPA) director-general Datuk Seri Mohd Shafiq Abdullah has been accused of publicly berating an immigration officer at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)

The Immigration Services Union of Peninsular Malaysia (KPISM), which represents 14,000 immigration officers, made the allegation in a statement on Wednesday, 3 August, and expressed its disappointment over Mohd Shafiq's behaviour towards the said KLIA immigration officer, operations chief James Lee.

According to KPISM, the incident occurred due to the absence of officers at the VIP counter between 8.40am and 9.40am on Wednesday.

"The office personnel was called, yelled at, berated, and asked to stand up straight by the director-general in the middle of a crowd," read the statement.

The union claimed that such actions were rude and disrespectful toward the officer, apart from insulting the rest of the officers who were present during the incident

"His behaviour also showed selfishness and ignorance towards the rest of the public who were patiently queueing at the regular counters," they added.

The union demanded a public apology from the director-general to Lee and the whole Immigration Department of Malaysia.

They also urged the government and the Congress of Union of Employees in the Public and Civil Services Malaysia (CUEPACS) to take action against any public servant who behaves as such.

According to Sinar Harian, CUEPACS responded to the situation and demanded swift action from the Prime Minister and the chief secretary of the government.

"We hope that Ismail Sabri and the Chief Secretary Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali will take fast action for the welfare of the civil servants, so as to be able to provide the best service to the people," said the CUEPACS President, Datuk Adnan Mat.

Following the allegation, JPA released an official statement yesterday, 4 August, refuting the claims made against the director-general

"We take this matter seriously and would like to emphasise that all the allegations against the director-general are baseless and malicious," read the statement.

Based on the press release, officer James Lee allegedly did not adhere to the stipulated practices for travellers who are leaving the country, which is to check their travel documents and passports.

"Instead, they (the director-general and the delegacy) were instructed to go straight to the customs counter," claimed the department.

JPA also denied that the reprimand was made publicly.

In the statement, they said, "He only advised the officer to obey rules and solve such incidents with prudence. He also recommended the officer to abide by the rules and standard operating procedure (SOP)."

Public Service Department (JPA) director-general Datuk Seri Mohd Shafiq Abdullah

Image via Malaysiakini

The Ministry of Home Affairs is aware of the allegations and has instructed an internal investigation

According to The Star, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin has called the Immigration director-general to get more facts about the incident.

"I don't want this to be used to destroy someone's image," said the minister.

He also asked the public to be patient to allow an internal investigation by the Immigration Department to be carried out.

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