There are a lot of things to look out for when you enter Malaysia.
- Make sure not to dress too nicely.
- Don’t flash a thick stack of ringgit when you’re walking on the streets.
- Keep a lookout for motorcycles when you’re walking along the road.
- And make sure your passports are stamped properly, especially at the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints.
And before you wonder if the last item on the list is necessary, it has happened before.
Just earlier this year, in fact.
Couple Got Into Trouble For Not Having Their Passports Stamped
It’s a given and your passport is stamped 99.9% of the time but 49-year-old Tay Mui Hiang and her 46-year-old husband Koh Meng Soon were part of the 0.1%.
Halfway down the Causeway, they realised their passports weren’t stamped.
They were advised to turn back to the Malaysian customs to stamp their passports, which turned out to be a huge mistake.
It is an immigration offence in Malaysia, and you may be detained, fined or even banned from the country.
For Mdm Tay and her husband, they suffered a loss of $396 (RM1,200) for having to cancel their plans to Genting just in case they got detained.
Though the couple were lucky enough that the issue could be solved easily by going down to JB, it will probably be much harder in the face of other countries when travelling by plane.
And MFA Doesn’t Want You To Repeat That Mistake
Tis the holiday season (hohoho) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) knows that Singaporeans are likeliest to travel over to JB for some cheap food and shopping.
They ask Singaporeans to enjoy themselves, but at the same time, to be prepared to deal with:
- Natural disasters
- terrorist attacks
And take the necessary steps to keep safe during their travels.
In addition, they have also asked Singaporeans to be particularly careful when crossing the checkpoints:
“Singaporeans travelling to and from Malaysia, in particular via the land checkpoints, are reminded to ensure that your passport is presented to a Malaysian immigration officer and stamped correctly before leaving the Malaysian immigration booth,.”
Failing to do that might result in severe consequences including:
- Detention (Put behind bars)
- A fine
- A ban from entering Malaysia
Yup, the last one scared us the most too; how else can we get cheap food and shopping done?!
They have also asked for Singaporeans to find out more about the country they’re going to, including the local political climate (read: Hong Kong).
What to Do if You Realise Your Passport Isn’t Stamped
Step 1: Get hold of the Malaysian immigration authorities.
Don’t go to their office because you obviously will have to pass through the checkpoint and you can’t; instead, call them at +603 8000 8000.
Tell them your problem, and they’ll probably direct you to the JB checkpoint.
Step 2: Head down to the JB checkpoint (I’m looking at you customs officer) to resolve the problem.
And don’t do this a month or a year later simply because you didn’t need to travel back to Malaysia; it’d be a greater hassle to settle it after a long time.
Step 3: When in trouble, call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to come to the rescue.
We’ve got your back with their number: +65 6379 8000. Now go and chase that girl!
Step 4: If all else fails (how?) and you actually get detained, get help from the Singapore High Commission in KL by calling +603 2161 6277.
As with all the other services, they abide by the office hours; so don’t annoy them after that!
Granted, if you’re detained you really don’t have a say in annoying them or not. So reach out to them at +60 16661 0400 instead.