On 26 March last year, a local man named Wong Chun Khuen pleaded guilty to the Sessions Court in Johor for a charge relating to illegal immigrants.
He was sentenced to a fine of RM30, 000 (S$9,915).
However, Mr Wong has now taken his appeal to the Malaysian High Court against the Immigration Department, through his lawyer Arun Kasi.
Based on the court documents that were filed that TOC saw, it appears that Mr Wong was not given the “privileged and confidential consultation” with his lawyer for any amount of time, without the presence or interference by immigrations officers. Mr Wong’s lawyer argues that it goes against Art. 5 (1) of the Malaysia Federal Constitution which states “no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law”.
This means that he was denied a basic right that everybody should be accorded.
If that is not all, the man was also arrested and sentenced for merely being in his house in Johor to carry out repair works. It appears that although he is the owner of the house, he is actually not staying in it.
As such, the lawyer says that this action is in fact not punishable by the law, specifically Art. 7 (1) of the Federal Constitution.
In addition, Mr Wong contends that he was also not permitted the equal protection of basic human liberties that the law has given to all in Malaysia.
According to the documents, the Singaporean was also put in a lot of pressure to plead guilty “involuntarily and in fear of personal safety, life and health.”
The documents also say that an immigration officer who was present in the detention centre who Mr Wong believed “fixed the case against him”, added more stress to him which led to him pleading guilty to the charges.
Based on all these reasons, Mr Wong has now decided to appeal to the Malaysian High Court to set aside the previous verdict and sentence.
This is not the first time a Singaporean is filing a case against the Malaysian Immigration Department.
Last month, Puis Gilbert Louis sued the Immigration Department for RM2.67 million over his 37-day detention in “horrifying conditions”.
Mr Louis, who had a valid visa to be in Malaysia, was arrested after he was found in a house with four other individuals, three of whom could possibly be illegal immigrants.
The retired teach and renowned musician noted that his was kept in an over-crowded and badly-maintained cell, and received “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”, causing him to sue the Immigration Department.
International human rights lawyer, M Ravi who is working both Mr Wong and Mr Louis’ lawyers on their cases, said: “It is time the Singapore government look into this as there is a line of one after another case by Singaporeans against Malaysian Immigration. Singapore govt should be concerned about safety of Singaporeans coming to Malaysia with proper visa like Gilbert Louis and Wong.”