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Johor immigration authorities have opened investigations against an officer after a Singaporean man claimed the officer had torn his passport and solicited a bribe.
Muhammad Fauzi, 26, took to Facebook after his encounter at the Sultan Abu Bakar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex.
In his post, he said that he was crossing the border into Malaysia via the Second Link at about 11.30pm on Sep 24 when the incident happened.
"A Malaysian official tore up my passport, denied me entry unless I paid him some kopi money," he alleged in his post.
When Stomp reached out to Fauzi, he said that he travels in and out of Malaysia daily as he lives there with his wife and in-laws but works in Singapore.
However, at the CIQ Complex, the immigration officer questioned him extensively.
"He questioned why I had Malaysia Automated Clearance System (MACS) on my passport and what am I doing entering Malaysia at this timing," Fauzi said.
A MACS Pass allows Singaporean motorists and travellers to use a fast-track clearance lane to speed up immigration processing time at Customs.
When Fauzi told the officer he was on the way home and that his wife was waiting for him, the officer said: "Oh, you have to U-turn back to Singapore because your passport is torn.
"Unless you're a Malaysian, I can't allow you to pass through but right now, that passport is torn and it is illegal."
Fauzi was shocked because he knew that his passport was perfectly fine.
"I have to use it every day and even a few minutes before giving it to the officer, I [scanned] my passport [at the Singapore side].
"It was perfectly fine, no tear[s], no bend[s], no scuffs."
When Fauzi told the officer that he wanted to see his supervisor, he refused.
"He told me to park my bike at the side and follow him to a corner," he said.
He recounted the following conversation that ensued:
Officer: "Bro I can help you pass through and let you see your wife but if I help you, you need to help me too."
Fauzi: "What do you need me to help you with?"
Officer: "Oh like this also need me to spell it out and teach you?"
Fauzi: "Oh so you want money? Money in your pocket will let me through?"
Officer: "Ahh smart boy."
Understanding what the officer was asking for, Fauzi then asked for his passport back and returned to Singapore, where he spoke to an officer from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) who advised him to make a police report.
He has since done so.
Fauzi told Stomp that he went back to his parents' place and visited the ICA the next morning (Sep 25) to make a new passport, for which he paid $80.
He told Stomp that thanks to ICA, he managed to receive his new passport the following day.
On Sep 25, Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia Johor (JIM Johor, Johor's immigration department) posted a statement on Facebook regarding the incident.
The statement in Malay said that investigations have been opened against the officer accused of misconduct.
It also said that the department took a serious view of the case and firm action would be taken if the allegations were proven to be true.
On Sep 26, he met with senior personnel JIM Johor, facilitated by the ICA, but has so far not heard back from them.
In an update to his post, Fauzi advised others who may experience what he went through to "not be afraid".
"Please look for any officials nearby to lodge a complain and police report," he said.
"Cases such as this cannot be resolved or improved upon if it goes unreported."
Singaporeans overseas in need of consular assistance can contact the 24-hour Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Duty Office (+65-63798800/8855) and refer to MFA's website or its consular Twitter page @MFAsgConsular for more information.