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Immigration completes 'nude squat' probe

The Johor Immigration Department has completed its probe into allegations that its personnel forced two Singapore women to perform squats in the nude.

Reached this afternoon, department director Mohd Nasri Ishak said the report has been submitted to the department's headquarters in Putrajaya.

"Please wait for the decision by the department headquarters and the (home) ministry," he said.

Mohd Nasri declined further comment, saying he did not want to issue any statement that could potentially contradict what the headquarters may say.

Several Singapore newspapers reported that the two women had gone to Johor Baru during the wee hours of June 9 and drove through an apparently unmanned immigration counter.

Upon realising that something was amiss, the two made a U-turn and sought out an immigration officer for assistance, and this led to their detention.

They were detained from illegal entry into Malaysia and held at a detention centre in Pontian, where the alleged nude squatting incident took place.

'Despicable and degrading'

In another development, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok called on the Home Ministry to take immediate action against the errant immigration personnel.

Describing the incident as "despicable and degrading", Kok said the incident had tarnished Malaysia as a tourist destination.

"It makes Malaysia look barbaric in the eyes of bona fide tourists," she said.

Based on the news reports, Kok said, the two women had admitted making a mistake and turned themselves in - and therefore the ministry had to justify their arrest, especially since they were released without any charge.

She said the Immigration Department must also explain its standard operating procedure for the arrest of suspected illegal immigrants.

Kok had caused a storm back in 2005 when she publicly released a video of a woman made to squat in the nude while being detained by police.

This led to the formation of a royal commission to reform police procedures. The commission concluded that the nude squat practice should be done away with as it was "inhumane".

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