Source North South Initiative

On Tuesday 4 May, I invited you to invest in immigration reform in Malaysia by sending money to North South Initiative’s “ThomasNoP Appeal.”

I invited you to help raise RM6,000 of RM8,000 needed to fund preparation of the Notes of Proceedings (NoP) of the coroner’s inquest into the death in immigration custody of Thomas Orhions Ewasinha.

Due to poor response, I issued a reminder on Sunday 9 May. Due to continued poor response, I issued a last call on Tuesday, 11 May. Finally, the tide turned, and the money started pouring in. Thank you. Before I share the result, I’ll remind you of why this is important.

What’s this case about?

Thomas was a 34-year old Nigerian student with a valid immigration visa. He died on 9 July 2019, in in the Bukit Jalil Immigration Depot, after five nights in immigration custody.

His family say that if he had not been detained, he would still be alive. They say that he died because he was ill-treated – like others in the detention centre – and not given proper medical care while in custody. The coroner has yet to decide what caused his death.

What opportunity does this case provide?

For the first time in Malaysian history, we have sworn testimony, given in a courtroom, before a coroner and other officers of the court about conditions and processes in an immigration detention centre. Everything said, in open court, is recorded in the Notes of Proceedings (NoP).

The NoP can serve as a common reference point for working together to improve the lot both of immigration officers and of detainees.

It is important to recognize that immigration officers are dehumanized by conditions in detention centres. The mental and physical health of the officers and their families are severely compromised. According to official data, on average, one person dies in immigration custody every week.

How was the response to the ThomasNoP appeal?

You overwhelmingly showed that you care about immigration reform.

(According to a friend, interbank transactions don’t show until the next working day, so the following figures may increase, since they are based on what NSI saw in the account today, a bank holiday.)

There were 57 deposits, ranging from RM20 to RM2,000. People across a large range of ages, incomes and occupations sent money. Some said their (single) deposits are the sum of many gifts.

The total amount raised (subject to increase) is RM14,700.

What will NSI do with the surplus?

NSI has told me that that the surplus from this appeal (1) will be used solely for immigration reform, (2) any activities funded from the surplus will declare that the funding is from this appeal and (3) a panel will be set up to plan and approve disbursements. I’ve agreed to join the panel.

Your support for this cause has greatly encouraged me and NSI. Thank you so much.