A Singaporean man has lodged a report with the police after a nasty experience with a Malaysian immigration officer, who allegedly defiled his passport and asked for some hush money if he wanted to enter the country.
The man, Muhammad Fauzi, had been heading back to his home in Malaysia late Monday night when he encountered some trouble at the Sultan Abu Bakar CIQ Complex, the checkpoint on the Malaysian side of Tuas Second Link. According to Fauzi, an officer questioned him about the Malaysia Automated Clearance System (MACS) Pass — that allows Singaporeans to use a fast-track clearance lane — on his passport, and why he was entering Malaysia so late at night.
When Fauzi replied that he was heading home to his wife, the officer probably took notice — it was close to midnight and the Singaporean had to go home after all.
“Oh, you have to U-turn back to Singapore because your passport is torn. Unless you’re Malaysian, I can’t allow you to pass through but right now that passport is torn and it is illegal,” the officer allegedly told Fauzi. The Singaporean was shocked to hear the comment because, according to him, he knew his passport was perfectly fine just a few minutes before handing it over. It was definitely fine when he scanned the passport at the Singapore checkpoint.
Then the shady part ensued after requests to speak to a supervisor were turned down. After the officer brought him to aside, he allegedly told Fauzi that he could pass through customs, but only via an “I-help-you-you-help-me” process. When Fauzi asked what exactly the man needed help with, the officer apparently mocked him, asking if he needed to “spell it out”.
“Oh, so you want money? Money in your pocket will let me through?” queried Fauzi. “Ahh, smart boy,” the officer was said to have replied.
Refusing to pay the bribe, Fauzi asked for his passport back and returned back to Tuas Checkpoint. Many others would have just paid the hush money to get it over with, especially at the end of a long, tiring day. Pictures of the passport showed significant tearing of the hard plastic information page, while the back of the booklet was ripped as well.
Upon his return to Singapore checkpoint, the man was told to make a police report. According to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), Fauzi wasn’t the first to experience the same thing. Stories of tampered passports carried out by immigration checkpoint officers have long been around in some version or another beyond just Singapore and Malaysia.
In an update, Fauzi noted that the deputy head of Sultan Abu Bakar CIQ Complex has since reached out to him personally and will take charge of the investigation of the case.
“If you do experience the same, please report it as well,” Fauzi advised his fellow Singaporeans. “Both to Singapore and Malaysia police”. The man added that he managed to take down the officer’s particulars and even his picture, but sharing them in public would be illegal as the photos were taken in a restricted area.