Sunday, September 07, 2008

Pregnant Malaysian mum wrongfully detained in Migrant Detention Centre for 11+ months

MALAYSIAN, M. Rajeshvari, 22 years old and six months pregnant was arrested in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, and was detained for the past 11 months because the authorities wrongly believed her to be an 'undocumented migrant'. They did 'not believe' her when she said she was a Malaysian.

In October last year, she was later produced in court and thereafter was sent to the depot in Lenggeng in October last year. Lengeng is a Detentention Centre for foreign migrants who entered Malaysia without permission.

She spent 11 agonising months at the Lenggeng Immigration depot for illegals – all allegedly because she could not recall her identity card number and was not fluent in Bahasa Malaysia. This is not acceptable or reasonable.

Finally, she was released now with her 10-month old baby - and thanks to the efforts of Malaysian Indian Youth Council vice-president Andrew Raju, and an un-named staff member in a clinic.

This un-named staff member and Andrew Raju must be commended for their actions that led to an end of a great and shameful injustice that has befallen this women and her CHILD - her now10-month-old son Logekali.

But, how could this happen - and the blame can lie nowhere else BUT on the POLICE, that Judge and the Court, and the Immigration Department.

This was WRONGFUL DETENTION - and I believe that this young mother and her child should immediately be justly compensated by the government - without requiring her to go to court and further hardship to seek justice.

It is an embarassment and a very bad reflection of our own government - detaining wrongfully a Malaysian mother (and child) in a Malaysian Detention Centre for so very wrong...

SEREMBAN: Young mother M. Rajeshvari spent 11 agonising months at the Lenggeng Immigration depot for illegals – all because she could not recall her identity card number and was not fluent in Bahasa Malaysia.

The 22-year-old, who was six months pregnant then, was waiting for a relative at a coffeeshop in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, when a raiding police party asked to see her identification card. She could not because she had lost it. Worse, she also forgot the IC number.

With only primary school education and speaking a smattering of Bahasa Malaysia, she failed to convince the authorities she was Malaysian. They suspected her to be a Sri Lankan immigrant.

Recalling bad memories: Rajeshvari talking about her experience at the Lenggeng Immigration depot. With her is her son Logekali and Raju.

Making matters worse, she could only give the officers sketchy details of her background.

Rajeshvari, who is from Penang and was jobless when she was detained, was later produced in court and eventually sent to the depot in Lenggeng in October last year.

She was unable to seek help from relatives because of estranged family ties. Her family members also did not attempt to look for her.

She was finally released from the detention camp on Friday evening, carrying her 10-month-old son Logekali.

Rajeshvari’s lucky release happened because a staff member at a clinic where Logekali was treated for food poisoning last week had alerted Malaysian Indian Youth Council vice-president Andrew Raju.

“After my arrest, I kept telling the authorities I was Malaysian but no one believed me,” said a tearful Rajeshvari.

Raju, when met outside the depot, said the officers did not pursue her case further as Rajeshvari could not give the right IC number or her parents’ address.

“In the beginning, I also had a hard time checking her out because the information she gave turned out to be dead ends, until she recalled her primary school,” he said.

Raju then contacted the school’s principal in Kampar in Perak, who managed to trace Rajeshvari’s birth certificate number.

Raju then went to the National Registration Department in Putrajaya to get a letter confirming Rajeshvari’s citizenship.

“It has been stressful running around to the various departments. But it is worth it when both mother and son are finally free,” he said.

Rajeshvari said she wanted to put the nightmare behind and start afresh with her baby. - Star, 7/9/2008 -Malaysian spends 11 months at depot for illegals

I do not think an apology by Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (PM) or Mohd Najib Razak (DPM) or the Ketua Pengarah Immigresen or the IGP or the Head of the Malaysian Judiciary responsible for the court would suffice....

This woman and her child must NOW be adequately compensated financially for her loss of liberty (and for the loss of liberty of her child) and the sufferings that they have suffered and will suffer in the future.

In terms, of compensation for wrongful detention - in Australia almost AUD1 million was paid out to 11 persons last year by settlement - and that would work out to be about AUD100,000 per person. And there, the wrongful detention may have been for a few days or 3 weeks the most.

In our case mother and child was arrested and detained, I believe for about 12-13 months. When arrested, she was 6 months pregnant - when released at last, she walks out with a 10-month old baby.

Therefore, I would say that besides the apologies, the government of Malaysia must now pay in compensation to this mother and child the sum of at least about AUD2 million or RM6 million.

The Federal Government admits it has paid almost $1 million in compensation to 11 people held in wrongful detention, including an Australian citizen. Figures released yesterday suggest the Government faces further payments of millions of dollars.

Since 1993 11 citizens from nine countries - Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, China, Fiji, France, Malaysia, South Korea and Britain - have been paid compensation for wrongful detention.

That does not include Cornelia Rau, the Australian resident detained for months by immigration authorities, or Vivian Alvarez Solon, the Australian citizen wrongly deported to the Philippines in 2001.

On average the 11 people were paid nearly $84,000 for their wrongful detention in confidential settlements.

The total paid was $920,000, according to answers to questions from the Greens senator Kerry Nettle during Senate estimates hearings in May....

...Some of the 11 cases have already been publicly aired, even though confidentiality clauses are standard on settlements for wrongful detention.

Mohamadou Sacko, a Frenchman, received $25,000 after being detained for several days on suspicion of carrying a false passport. A Korean on a visitor visa working on a fruit farm was held at Baxter detention centre for at least a week before it was realised she was here lawfully.- The Sydney Morning Herald, 17/8/2008 - Detention's $1m damage trail

Now, it does happens that persons get wrongfully arrested and detained - but the important thing is that the Malaysian government also do start immediately paying out compensation without requiring persons to have to take the matter to court to get their just compensation for what is clearly acts of negligence on the part of the government.

Concerned lay person Andrew Raju was able to invetigate and provide evidence of the truth - so there really is no justification for police, court, immigration officers, etc ....wrongfully detaining this pregnant Malaysian women, forcing her to have her baby in detention, causing this Malaysian baby to be born in detention and live out the first 10 months in a detention centre - compensate her now..


Anonymous said...

I dont think anyone should compensate or apologise. The reason is simple -- she did not have a legal identity (IC) heck she did not even remember her IC. If this case was to be compensated then hundreds of thousands of cases will arise. How would you then expect the immigration authorities to do their job?

Nostradamus said...

A Tribute to RPK For Your Dreams. (Suatu Penghormatan kepada RPK atas Impian Mu)


The latest news about RPK in Malaysiakini and Malaysia Today, that he would be detained under the ISA have moved me to dedicate this speech by one of the great Freedom Fighters in the world, Martin Luther King Jr. " I Have a Dream" to him.

(Berita terbaru tentang RPK di Malaysiakini dan Malaysia Today, bahawa beliau akan ditahan dibawah ISA telah mengharukan hati saya untuk mendedikasikan ucapan oleh seorang Pejuang Kebebasan Dunia, Martin Luther King Jr. bertajuk "Saya ada Impian" kepada beliau.)

Let us reminiscent over it at

(Marilah kita mengenangkan tentangnya di )

Anonymous said...

Hah! Malaysia "Boleh"....

Starmandala said...

Compensation is certainly deserved in the case of Rajeshvari and her child. RM6 million, however, is somewhat excessive. I'd think RM10,000 for every month she was stupidly detained would be adequate. That would provide the lady with a total settlement of RM110,000 - which should help her sort her life out.

Anonymous said...


How TO expect the immigration authorities to do their job BETTER and the LOWEST MISTAKE is their OFFICER DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY.


Justice said...

"she did not have a legal identity...she did not remember her i/c" so says anonymous.
The fact is no one bothered to be interested in another fellow Malaysian probably because it was easier to settle the case based on the authorities assumptions.
If Andrew Raju on his own initiative could in about 2 weeks find out who she was surely all the organs of Govt with all the national resources on tap also have done the same. The trouble is nobody cared about another statistic.
I believe the Govt has a responsbility to give care even to "idiots".

casper c said...

To the idiot of a naysayer above - she wasn't detain for a week, a month but eleven months !!! Add injury to insult, had to give birth under detention.

A reasonable sum as compensation is definitely in order and lets hope this is done voluntarily instead of getting her to jump through hoops, have to engage counsel to cut the red tape.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at 5.46pm: Heartless lah you. This is Malaysia lah, for God's sake! Couldnt they have found even one Tamil speaking person to ask her. Isn't there such a thing as a window period where they give her a chance to produce her IC or details thereof? This incident clearly shows how merciless and highhanded our authorities are, esp in the case of Indians or anyone who looks like Indian. It is common knowledge how they constantly harrass even legitimate foreign employees. I dread to think how many more are incarcerated in prisons and detention centres due to the overzealousness of the police, RELA and immigration. And to Anonymous who posted at 8.13pm: very cheap, the rate you suggest! A pregnant woman lost her freedom at the start of her third and most difficult trimester, gave birth in detention without her loved ones nearby and she and her baby have been in the centre for so many months. I was outraged to read of her plight. I think she deserves to be compensated much more. At least then next time the authorities will be a bit more cautious.

Anonymous said...

I also think that she should be compensated. How much i don't know. But my question is why this had dragged on for so long? Surely she had tried to communicate in her mother tongue or had at least furnished some basic information. The answer is probably no one cared enough to take up the case for this "nobody" until Andrew Raju came along. Even he admitted it was difficult but he persevered. While some may say that she could not even remember her number,address, speak bahasa etc Well, she probably can't even read and write lah..this case reflects how some groups in our country get marginalised and end up as the victims of the system. We are still very third world!

Anonymous said...

The end result of having a HP6 immigration and even more dumber judge . The government must pay . They are now used to getting away withmurder an stealing and killing people in cells they think everything is dandy......its time the government pays.....

Vijay said...

Ha ha... staying in Malaysia anything can happen...the Immigration should do a thorough checking on her status even though she cant remember her IC number... then for what the immigration officers get their monthly paid? The authority dont even know where she is from, then where else they want to deport her? Nonsense...

fade0 said...

Someone pls advise her to carry her IC, Passport or at least a paper ID document the next time she decides to go on a long trip. Or at least learn BM (its malaysia's official language in case she hasn't heard) or remember where she was born.

If she can't even manage this, then she probably deserved to be locked up.

Anonymous said...

What compensation?

I am sick and tired of this attack on the authotiries for doing their job.

The authorities must follow the law and charge her for not having her I.C. which is a strict liability offence.

If she was Indonesian, y'all be calling the authorities to send her back and even demand she pay the fare.

Just because she is Malaysian Indian, y'all come to her defence.

Y'all want authorities to act tough on illegal immigrants nay y'all actually want authorities to act tough on undocumented Indonesian and Filipino guest workers but not those from the subcontinent.

Isn't this double standards.

I agree with anonymous, she is responsible for her own misfortune, even Andrew Raju initially couldn't trace her identity or check out her story as she is being vague about her own life's story nor could she remenber her ic no.

You expect the authorities with thousands of undocumented or suspected undocumented foreigners to devote resourses to check.

In english legal precedent, it is for the person who claims to have a valid liquor license to produce it in Court.

The same principles apply here.

It was incumbent for her to produce the I C.. All the information given by her to the authorities did not match.

This is the same case as that Chinese boy who actually deliberately concealed his mother's whereabouts and ended in jail.

I was told by my mother to have my IC. with me all the time when I was growing up and memorise the number. DOnt blame the authorities when they follow the law.

Khun Pana aka johanssm said...

If one is caught not having an ID the procedure is to sent her to court.
If one not able to recollect owns ID number the procedure is to scans the person thumb prints.
Thats the MAIN reason as to why we PAID MEGA MILLIONs to have MyCard.

Some of you here left cruel comments without knowing, understanding , seeking the truth,common sense,basic procedures and human rights.

She do not speaks Bahasa Melayu, same here.
She can't sings the negaraku , same here as well.
She can't remembers her ID number , non of my late grands recollects anything .
She don't know wheres she is from , she knows...but the imigresen/polis whatever don't speaks her language.
She might be a bit mentally challenge.
She might be terrified, me too when a bunch of idiots in RELA uniform trying to knocks down my front door at 3 am.
She was caught by polis ( according to media ).

You and I paid 11 months to house a Malaysian in a detention depot for illegal immigrants.
You and I paid months of expenses to delivers her baby.
You and I paid something for nothing!
because non of the government servants are functional.

She was lucky when someone from the clinic was alert .
She was lucky that Andrew from Mic youth heard her story.
Yes , he is from the Mic but good work deserves to be mention.
This case is not about politics.
But Andrew was not so lucky , he was given a lot of run around in PutraJaya armed with just a birth certificate number.
A Malaysian was given the run around in PutraJaya! It should read that way.

This also means that such detention centres do NOT have regular visitation by officers or they did NOT bother.
This also means that the mega MILLIONs worth of MyCard equipment/thumb scanners/readers are NOT in place.
This also means non of the arresting officers followed procedures.

Even if her husband/relative were to go to the Brickfield station to look for her will certainly fail.As the "arrest" was not recorded in a proper way.
Upon her release day, government or the "imigresen direktor" arrogantly said in press release that - Immigration Department enforcement chief Datuk Ishak Mohamed said that the burden of proof of citizenship was on the person suspected of being an illegal immigrant. The new Criminal Procedure Code also allows the suspect to make phone calls to anyone who can help,” he said, pointing out that the police had picked her up, not Immigration officials.

“But, please, don’t tell me that after 22 years, you cannot speak Bahasa Malaysia? You mean she would not know how to sing Negaraku either?

Submit her case to the court, she have a solid case.
Note - If badawi can openly say saifool was the 'victim" why not this case? -

Anonymous said...

This is horrible to show Malaysian police are fools and idiots. We all know they practice 'muslim-boleh' concept to become the main favourite employees but we cannot see the growth of idiotics in all over malaysia. Isnt there any tamil speaking officer was sent to investigate her case when she was detained ? Malaysian means no requirement one must speak Malay. So many chinese cant speak malay too. Where is the justice served for citizens ? This pregnant mother who suffered MUST be compensated.