A ‘worried’ sick’ Singaporean has taken to social media for help after two of his friends were allegedly detained in Malaysia over unstamped passports.
In a Reddit post shared yesterday (June 5), Throwaw4y38294 recounted that he went on a trip to Johor Bahru (JB) with some friends where two crossed the border on June 3 with a rented car, while the others took a bus there.
Those who drove in then ran into issues with their Touch ‘n Go card at the Malaysian Customs.
Said this Reddit user: “The officer held onto their passports and directed them to sort it out at some kind of toll office. And when they finished up and came back, they didn’t check whether their passports were stamped.
“While they obviously should have checked, I believe that it genuinely slipped their mind amidst the chaos and confusion.”
When all of them were returning to Singapore in the same car three days later, some Malaysian Custom officers at the JB checkpoint noticed that passports belonging to the two who drove in a few days earlier did not have an entry stamp, he posted.
“[They] took us in for questioning, [and were] very hostile and intimidating”, the Singaporean said, adding that the custom officers “made a big show” of empathising to the group that leaving without an entry stamp is an offence under the Malaysian Immigration Act.
“They seemed very insistent on detaining my friends, even though they tried very hard to explain their case and even offered proof of entry via the causeway.”
While the rest returned to Singapore, the two of them are uncontactable in Malaysia, Throwaw4y38294 claimed.
“I’m worried sick for my friends, especially as I’m unfamiliar with the conditions of the detention centre and how they’re being treated,” he added, before asking Redditors for their advice.
In the comments, several netizens gave suggestions on what this Reddit user can do to help his friends.
For Singaporeans who are heading to Malaysia via the checkpoint in JB, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the following advice:
- Check that the passport is stamped before leaving the immigration booth.
- Refrain from passing the immigration booths that are unattended. This is to prevent breaching Malaysian immigration laws.
- Do not enter or leave Malaysia without having your travel documents processed by a Malaysian immigration officer and ensuring that your passport is stamped correctly.
Singaporeans who require assistance when abroad should contact the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission or call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Duty Office at 6379 8800/ 6379 8855, the ministry added.
The Singapore Consulate-General in Johor Bahru can be reached at +60-19-791-1166.
Criminal lawyer Cory Wong of Invictus Law Corporation said that it is an offence for Singaporeans to offer a bribe to public servants when they are abroad, the Straits Times reported last month.
Singaporeans who feel pressured into giving bribes may seek consular assistance, which would, in turn, help contact the relevant authorities in a foreign country, Wong added.
Earlier in May, a Singaporean and his friends were detained for a week and slapped with a 3,000 ringgit (S$930) fine each for a similar offence.
AsiaOne has reached out to Throwaw4y38294 for comment.
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