A Bangladeshi trade union leader alleged that he was mistreated by the Malaysian immigration authorities at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), and was deported without showing any valid reason.
Tapan Saha, general secretary of the Textile Garments Workers' Federation of Bangladesh, flew to Malaysia on November 17 to attend the “Asian Transnational Corporation Monitoring Network 2017 Conference”, scheduled on November 17-21.
He had with him visit visa, return ticket and an invitation letter from the conference organiser -- North South Initiative -- a Kuala Lumpur-based human rights organisation.
However, Tapan was detained and deported the next day.
“I was treated inhumanely… I also experienced physical violence. My phone was confiscated and I was not able to call the organisers,” he told The Daily Star.
He said he complained to the Malaysian Immigration Department in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysian High Commission in Dhaka on November 28, but yet to receive any response.
Tapan said after arriving in KLIA at 3:30am on November 17, an immigration officer asked him to show his passport, return ticket and the invitation letter, which he did. “The officer then asked how much money I had.”
“I said I had $50. As the organisers were supposed to bear my expenses, I did not need to carry additional money,” he said.
Another officer then took away his money, mobile phone and luggage. He said he was then pushed into a large room, filled with around 70 people -- around 25 Bangladeshis, some Pakistanis, Indians and nationals of China, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Qatar, Egypt and Somalia.
Tapan said the immigration officer asked the Bangladeshis, Indians and Pakistanis to sit on the floor.
“As a Bangladeshi, I felt so humiliated,” he said. After lunch, Tapan felt sick and sat on the sofa, but an officer rushed in and kicked him in the stomach. The officer then asked: “Are you a businessman?”
Tapan was deported on November 18 evening, but before that he was asked to pay 200 more Malaysian ringgit. He said he had Tk 800, and he changed Tk 600 to 30 ringgit and gave it to the officer.
“The immigration officers behaved so rudely. While some Bangladeshis were sleeping on the floor in the morning, an officer shouted and kicked them, asking them to get up.”
Earlier on July 19, Bangladesh Supreme Court lawyer Adilur Rahman Khan was also detained, mistreated by the KLIA immigration authorities, and deported in a similar fashion.
Contacted, North South Initiative Executive Director Adrian Pereira said such practices by the Malaysian immigration is very discriminatory and goes against fundamental right to the freedom of movement.
The South Asians are particularly targeted by the immigration officers, he told The Daily Star from Kuala Lumpur over the phone.
“The immigration officers must be held accountable,” he said, demanding a probe into the matter.