KUALA LUMPUR — The Malaysian immigration is under fire with reports of multiple abuse of foreigners in detention and a constant bullying of foreign nationals working in the country.
The death of a Nigerian student in custody sparked protests in Kuala Lumpur with 20 Nigerians gathering at the Nigerian Embassy to seek redress from a perceived mistreatment of their fellow national.
The Nigerians in Malaysia created an organisation called the Nigerians In Diaspora Organisation Malaysia (Nido-My). News reports say they were at the demonstration on Friday at the Jalan Ampang Hilir.
A group of Nigerian nationals held a small but heated protest outside their country’s high commission. The death of the fellow Nigerian in immigration custody triggered the protest, reports say.
Malaysia arrested 130 foreigners in June in an immigration sweep, and this shows the intensity of the problems caused by illegal migrants in the country.
But those with valid work or student passes get caught in the dragnet and they claim they do not always get good treatments from enforcement officers.
There is a rise in anti-foreigner sentiments since last year reports say.
A businessman who spoke to The Independent Singapore says the country is changing rules and moving the goal posts and instead of facilitating business visa extensions, new rules are imposed.
“They are making it difficult for the families of ‘investors’ in small enterprises to get visas too,” says French national of North African origin.
He left the country, packing up some members of his family to migrate to other destinations. It is not an isolated incident. The Immigration has had issues with foreign nationals for decades.
But the death of the Nigerian student Thomas Orhions Ewansiha with a valid student pass in detention opens up old wounds.
According to media reports, the Immigration Department of Malaysia says Thomas got caught last week after he ‘attempted’ to flee in the raid.
His detention was extended because the Immigration department ‘suspected’ that his pass was a fake.
The Star daily reports how a foreign student claims to have lost 10kg and clumps of hair due to trauma after her interaction with an enforcement officer.
The foreign national recounted how she was trying to get an e-hailing ride outside a restaurant last year but were detained even though she had a valid iKad, a gazetted valid identification document.
Under pressure, the department says its investigations on the death of Nigerian Thomas at an Immigration depot found no signs of him being physically assaulted.
Immigration Department director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud told Bernama on said Sunday (July 14) the department is still waiting for a medical report from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital (HUKM) to confirm the cause of Ewansiha’s death.
In a statement last Friday, Khairul Dzaimee said that Ewansiha died on July 9 in custody after suffering a seizure while asleep.
Ewansiha was one of 20 foreigners picked up in an integrated operation on July 4 at Desa Aman Puri here following public complaints.
Article first appeared in The Independent Singapore