Malaysia's ACG community was in serious shock when a recent event got raided by immigration authorities and lead to the detainment of some well-known cosplayers. What we can learn from this fiasco that caught the attention of Singapore and Japan news centre?

Front page newspaper about Cosplay Festival 4 (CF4) event raided by immigration authorities.
Front-page headlines about the recent Ops Kutip incident on Harian Metro and Utusan Malaysia from March 25th, 2019.
Source: Amin Husni @ Facebook

What are you looking at right now are the front-page headlines from local Malaysian newspapers dated March 25th, 2019. Notice a photo of cosplayers on the header.

  • Hang on a minute, what was up with those cosplayers?

On March 23rd, 2019, a cosplay event being held at Sunway Putra Hotel Grand Ballroom called Cosplay Festival 4 (CF4) had been raided by the Immigration Department of Malaysia under their Ops Kutip operation. The officers had detained eleven (11) foreign cosplayers and one local man, who was believed to be the Event Director. Because of this incident, Day 2 of CF4 was cancelled.

According to the Director of Immigration Kuala Lumpur, Mr Hamidi Adam, the detained foreign cosplayers were convicted because of visa violations. They were given a social visit pass, which wasn't the right type of visa for them to do a performance at the event. The detained foreigners were five Japanese, three Singaporeans, two Thais, and one native Hong Kong. To make matters worse, the event itself ran without permission from the Central Agency for Application for Filming and Performance by Foreign Artistes (PUSPAL). Super long name for sure, but it was that organization that has the right to approve an applied event or not.

  • Wait up! How this is even possible?!

Apparently, it was rumoured that this incident was caused by someone who has some kind of revenge on the Director. Whether the incident was considered to be a deliberate attempt for the revenged to sabotage the Director's event remained unclear to this day. However, this particular Facebook post by the name of Joshua Zen did reveal something... "interesting" about the Director.

Unfortunately, I am not in the right position to talk about the Director as I have never seen, let alone meet him for real. However, Joshua wasn't the only person who seems to be bamboozled by him. Even my precious BFF who used to work with him also had trouble with him before. I think that it would be best if I didn't make any assumption whatsoever on a person that I never meet at all in the first place.

  • That sounds bad. How did the world react to this incident?

Sure enough, this incident sent multiple shockwaves to Animation, Comics, and Games (ACG) fans throughout the world, particularly in Malaysia. If you think the local newspaper coverage was enough to ignite the fire among the community, ACG-related sites like Anime News Networktv AsahiKotaku, and SoraNews24 also covered the story. If that wasn't enough to rub salt on the already critically wounded situation, Singaporean news publishing sites such as TNP.SG, AlvinologyYahoo! SG, and even The Straits Times have been keeping tabs about their citizens who were detained by the Malaysian Immigration Department.

Such an enormous farce of the whole incident led to an episode aired on BFM 89.9 under the Enterprise Biz Bytes slot. The whole talk is worth listening because it points out the key problem of the whole incident, which is poor event planning and management. It focuses right on the spot about how the foreign cosplayers were not given the right visa in the first place and also on how the organizers didn't apply any work permits for the foreign performers.

  • Are there any legal actions taken for the detained foreigners?

Attempts had been made to free the detained foreigners as shown from this Facebook post. To cut the story short, all detained foreign cosplayers had been released as of 29th of March, 2019 according to SAYS. Meanwhile, guest cosplayer Mon had given her statement on her Facebook page that she and stayxxx were not detained at all and had flown back safely to Taiwan on Monday.

  • Okay, I had enough. This is crazy! So what we can learn from all of this?

First things first: Laws and rules exist so that you can safely organize an event without any mishap whatsoever. Always make sure to follow the rule or you might be possibly ended up standing in front of the jury inside a court at one point.

Proper planning is essential for the journey's smoothness. Even in normal everyday life, you always make a plan for a certain job or task - e.g., applying for a job, road trip backpacking, and restarting the broken relationship. The same goes for organizing an event, where everything from visas to permits, itineraries to schedules, and basic needs like health and food has to be well prepared. Remember to come up with backup plans if there is anything unexpected or wrong that happens.

Don't be a total c*nt. People will judge you based on their first impression and will keep an eye on your behaviour. Scored yourself a clean record, and they will keep on befriending you. If you didn't, at least someone would have a grudge against you and he/she would do anything to stop you. He/She might not be saying it in front of you, but he/she would definitely say it inside their heart, and that is something you absolutely need to be aware of.

Last but not least, let the professionals do their job. While we have no problem spreading information online, do not spread any uncredited rumours or incredible stories unless if you have solid proof or evidence to support those rumours or stories. Refrain yourself from making an already messy situation even messier than before. It only going to make things worse and more difficult to solve.

Are you shocked about this immigration raid? What is your reaction to this fiasco? Let us know in the comment section down below.

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