A Singaporean man, in a lengthy Facebook post, has recounted the horror he experienced at the hands of KLIA immigration officers earlier this week after he flew into Kuala Lumpur for a gaming competition with a passport that had less than six months validity
The Facebook post, posted on 10 June, has attracted hundreds of comments from people and has been shared more than 1.3k times at the time of publishing this story.
The Singaporean individual, Joshua Lee, claims that he was denied entry upon arriving at KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport ) on 8 June 8, at 3.15pm. He was told by the immigration officers that he could not go into KL because his passport expires in less than six months time so he would be deported back.
Joshua admits that it was his fault for not renewing his passport, adding that he was under the impression that it would be alright as at the Singapore customs he was told that it was okay and that they had allowed him to go to Kuala Lumpur.
In his post, Joshua claims that upon asking the immigration officer what should he do next, he was told that if he wanted he could book a return ticket back himself or one could be booked for him
"Obviously, I wanted them to book for me because I didn't bring much cash with me," Joshua wrote, explaining that since he had a return ticket paid for already, he felt it was only right that he gets a paid trip back to Singapore.
"But I guess I was foolish for thinking that. So I told him that I would want them to book. And he replied to me that if they were to book, I would be denied entry into Malaysia for one month," Joshua wrote, adding that he told the officer that he was fine with it.
"But then he gave me a more serious tone and ended it with a fucked up smile. He said "You sure? If I book your ticket, you might never come back to Malaysia."
However, Joshua says he gave up as he was feeling down for not being able to go to KL and he just wanted to go home, "so, I said yea, just book it for me."
He then claims that as he was informing his parents and his girlfriend in Singapore about the situation in KL, he was called into a separate room with a couple of other tourists and officers in it
Once inside the room, which according to Joshua had two lockup cells, with one for women and kids and the other for men, he was told to turn off his phone and take off his belt and was asked to wait inside the cell till a ticket was booked for him.
Joshua says while he was scared, he decided to cooperate as he still believed that the immigration officers would book his ticket and he would be out soon.
The way Joshua described the lockup cell inside the room, it was a like a hell, he said, adding that while it could be worse in other countries, he never expected Malaysia's customs to be like this
According to Joshua's post on Facebook:
The cell with the size of a four-room HDB flat had over 100 other people inside.
It was overcrowded and the place reeked of body odours.
They didn't allow people to bathe and the toilet reeked of ammonia.
There was leftover food on the floor.
People were laying on top of each other because there wasn't enough space.
Joshua choked a few times because of the foul odours.
He couldn't sleep properly because there wasn't enough space left to lay down.
People inside the cell were treated like criminals.
Joshua wrote that inside that cell he felt like a criminal and thought to himself what crime did he commit that he had no rights to even call his parents or anybody.
This 2009 photo by Amnesty International shows migrant workers in an overcrowded cell in the KLIA Immigration Depot, Malaysia
According to Joshua's post, one of the men, who was locked up in the cell, was badly beaten up by five officers for asking questions
"So 5 of them came in, beat the living shit out of him in front of all the people there. They slapped him, kicked him in the face and almost everywhere, choked him and then they said, "Anyone has any more questions?!", claimed Joshua in his post.
"They used violence on an unarmed innocent man.
"It was hell for me. Nobody knew when they are gonna be let out. And the people that had money could bribe the officers and they were out in a few hours."
Joshua says he was locked up for 26 hours but it felt like 26 weeks of hell for him. According to him, while he was in prison for a year in Singapore, it's nowhere near to the kind of horror he faced in KL.
After Joshua had stopped replying to his messages, his father contacted Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and an action was taken to release him.
In his post, Joshua said the reason he shared his experience so to caution others that it's a whole different world just across the border.
He ended his lengthy post saying that Malaysia "still have a very primitive way of doing things, lots of corruption inside too. I'm no saint but this is way too much for me."
In the comment section of the post, Joshua also shared a photo of the document that listed his transgression in Malaysia:
According to the document provided by Joshua, the reason he could not return to Malaysia is that he is a "prohibited immigrant".
Recently, an immigration officer was removed from active duty after he was caught on camera assaulting a foreigner over the counter: