To Our Fellow Travelers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Why We Think You Should Be Carrying Your ID At All Times

Here’s a NewsWhistle update from contributor Sam Whiskey who was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, over the weekend:

“On my way home from the nightlife district of Bukit Bintang, I see flashing lights in the taxi’s side mirror. Two officers approach. My driver is questioned for his ID.  He complies. They look at me. Where’s your ID? Where’s your passport? I don’t have either.  They ask if I was drinking. They order me to exit the taxi. The duo escorts me into the back seat of the police car. Malaysian law requires all persons to carry an ID. It’s a national law. They have to be super sensitive these days…something about missing passports. They now plan to drive me in to the station, book officially, detain for 3 days, and pay a penalty of US$1000 upon release. I tell them I’m sorry. They ask what I’m doing in KL. Just visiting I say. They laugh. We negotiate. I suggest providing all the money in my wallet. The equivalent of US$130 in Ringgits. I hand over the multi-colored notes. They count. The men are not pleased. They want the equivalent of $156. They complain, yet decide to drive me to the hotel. After a couple of minutes, they change the subject. They want my thoughts on the missing MH flight. I say I have little information, just what I’m seeing in the news. I ask if they have any insights. ‘It was hijacked. Our bosses all know.’ So that’s what $130 buys you in Malaysia – a ride to the hotel… and a sprinkle of speculation.”

— Sam Whiskey


Art Courtesy of  Alexander Ryabintsev/