Malaysian minister unveils alleged corruption scandal involving immigration officers at KLIA airport, MACC investigating

Malaysian minister unveils alleged corruption scandal involving immigration officers at KLIA airport, MACC investigating

MALAYSIA — A Malaysian Minister recently intervened in an alleged corruption case at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) involving immigration officers.

An assistant enforcement officer from the Immigration Department claimed that Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, threatened to demote him after he refused entry to a Chinese traveler. The Immigration Department has initiated an investigation into the matter.

In a recent update, The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has scheduled a meeting with the minister on 3 July to address the allegations.

Last Thursday (29 June), an online media portal Bebas News, reported that a minister trespassed into the international arrival hall at KLIA after being alerted about the detention of a Chinese tourist who had been denied entry and detained there on 28 June.

An online portal alleged that a minister created an “uproar” at the KLIA arrival hall, entering it without seeking clearance 

Bebas News, citing sources, reported that the minister immediately went to KLIA, and alleged that the minister entered the arrival hall without seeking clearance.

“When he was stopped, he used his ministerial powers and berated the KLIA Auxiliary Police and immigration officers because he wanted to rescue the Chinese woman who was detained upon her arrival,” explained a source to Bebas News.

The news quickly spread on social media, with some accusing the minister of abusing his power and interfering with the Immigration department’s enforcement at the airport, thereby posing a threat to the security and sovereignty of the nation.

However, there were also calls for action against the officer involved in the alleged corruption case.

The Minister revealed a case of alleged extortion

The Minister, Tiong, immediately refuted the allegations and confirmed in a statement on 30 June that he was indeed the Minister mentioned in the incident.

He explained that the Chinese tourist was allegedly asked to pay RM18,000 (approximately 3,853 USD) for her release.

During the process, a suspected “intermediary” appeared and offered a package known as “3,000+3,000+12,000” for her release.

This package included RM3,000 for an air ticket to leave the country, another RM3,000 to re-enter Malaysia, and a final RM12,000 as an application processing fee for the required visa.

Tiong described the incident as a blatant attempt at corruption and abuse of power.

He claimed that the immigration officers also confiscated the woman’s mobile phone, which was beyond their authority.

Tiong, who is also a Member of Parliament for Bintulu, denied accusations of favoring the woman based on her race and stated that he would have supported the immigration officers if they had followed proper procedures and regulations.

“Netizens have accused me of choosing to help the woman because of her race. This is absolutely not true. If the Immigration officers followed the procedure and regulations, I would support their actions. ”

“For instance, at the same time as the incident, there was a Vietnamese person who was detained. As much as I wanted to assist her out of her plight, the order to deport her was done according to the regulations as she was under the black list. ”

In response to the criticism of Tiong abusing his power as a Minister, he clarified that he entered the arrival hall with a valid pass and that it is normal for a minister to monitor activities on the ground.

Transport Minister: all ministers have VIP pass to enter prohibited area at KLIA

Anthony Loke, the Transport Minister had clarified that all ministers have a VIP pass to enter prohibited areas at the KLIA, and there was no breach of security protocol as ministers were allowed to enter the area even if they were not boarding a flight.

“When he (Tiong) was at KLIA, he was accompanied by auxiliary police officers and Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB) security personnel, ” he told the news portal Malaysiakini.

Police report lodged against the minister

A police report was lodged by an assistant enforcement officer from the Immigration Department, alleging that Minister Tiong had threatened to demote him and reprimanded him severely.

According to the officer, Syahmi Syafie Md. Nazmi, Minister Tiong accused the officers of “being the culprits” in the incident and did not provide them with an opportunity to justify their decision to deny entry to the tourist.

Syahmi stated that the action taken against the traveler was in compliance with the established procedure and the “Permanent Instruction of the Director-General of Immigration No. 09 of 2017”.

In a statement, Immigration Director-General Datuk Rusli Jusoh emphasized that the department is investigating the incident, and urged the public to respect the ongoing investigation process and to avoid engaging in speculation or provocation that could hinder the transparency of the investigation.

PM Anwar conducted a spot check at KLIA airport

Meanwhile, according to the New Straits Times, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim conducted a spot check at KLIA airport on Sunday (2 July).

Acknowledging the existence of issues within the Immigration Department, he expressed concerns over claims of a “culture of corruption” within the department at KLIA.

While acknowledging the majority of Immigration personnel’s good work, he singled out a small group responsible for the problems.

Anwar stated that an investigation would be conducted, and appropriate action would be taken if deemed necessary.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to meet Minister Tiong and the Chinese tourist to address the allegation

On Sunday (2 July), The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)  chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki confirmed that the agency s scheduled to meet Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing on Monday.

The Chinese national involved in the incident will also attend the meeting with MACC.

“The information alleging corrupt practices has been exposed through media reports, hence the MACC needs to get all the relevant information.”

“We will be meeting with both individuals involved in the matter and we do not want anyone to take advantage of this tense situation.”

“We hope everyone will remain patient. If there is truth to what has been exposed, we will take action per the MACC laws,” Azam Baki added.

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