KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Immigration Department has denied that its officers ill-treated a Taiwanese woman detained at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) and asked her for money.
Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said his officers followed standard operating procedure (SOP) in handling the case involving Yu Ya Chien, 34, who was not allowed to enter Malaysia due to her damaged passport upon arrival at the airport on March 9.
"We followed SOP and the law in handling her case," he said. "This individual is making up stories and she has made this issue into a personal issue," he said when contacted on Saturday (March 18).
Mustafar was commenting on a story in which the Taiwanese woman, who claimed she was detained at KLIA2 for 35 hours, alleged that Immigration officers had ill-treated her and demanded for money.
Posting about her ordeal on Facebook under the name Chiao Mei, the woman said her mobile phone and passport had been confiscated before she could inform her family of the situation.
Mustafar said he had also contacted the Taiwanese Embassy to set the record straight and counter Yu's allegations.
"The embassy is also willing to cooperate with our department to ensure all Taiwanese citizens abide by the law and regulations in Malaysia," he said.
Elaborating on procedures of a Not To Land (NTL) order under the Immigration Act 1959/63, Mustafar said those who are refused entry are handed over to an airline before they can be sent back to their country of origin on the first available flight.
"Matters concerning the individual, including their welfare and food, will have to be borne by the airline.
"While waiting for the airline to settle the flight arrangements, individuals involved in an NTL, will be placed at a holding area. On average, each individual will wait two to three days before the eventual flight home," Mustafar said.
An individual who has been imposed with an NTL order is required to surrender all electronic devices to an on-duty Immigration officer at the holding area while waiting for the flight back to their country of origin.
"However other valuables such as cash, jewellery and identification documents are under the responsibility of the individual and they are also required to sign an 'NTL surrendered items' form.
"In Yu's case, she surrendered two mobile phones and kept her cash. She was placed at the holding area and finally returned home on March 11 via an AirAsia flight," Mustafar said.
From Jan 1 to Feb 28, a total of 3,592 people imposed with an NTL order were sent back due to various immigration offences.