Without proper procedures and rule through the officials, any organized events will be considered as illegal. Hence this is what happened to this cosplay event.
Last weekend, Cosplay Festival 4 held in Sunway Putra Hotel had to cancel its Day 2 as the performers did not have the right visa when entering the country. They were inspected by the immigration department (JIM) amidst the first day of the event.
It was supposed to be a two-day event on the Mar 23 and 24 (Sat and Sun). However, the event was called off the following day after 12 individuals were arrested.
According to The Newpaper SG, the 12 arrested individuals comprises three Singaporeans, two Thai nationals, a Hong Kong guest, five Japanese, including a Japanese resident and the organizer himself, Ahmad Syafiq Nizar Ahmad Radzi.
Immigration department director Hamidi Adam told media that 52 participants were checked and investigated. He revealed that foreign guests were detained entering Malaysia by using social visit passes a few days before the event.
It turns out that social visit passes do not cover events like Cosplay Festival as it consists of live performances and activities that were engaged in the convention, said Hamidi.
Furthermore, it was reported that the event was organized without permission from Malaysia’s Central Agency for Filming and Performance by Foreign Artistes (PUSPAL)
The event was disrupted on the first day when officers from the Malaysian Immigration Bureau raided the convention venue, making the dozens of arrest at 2.00pm, Soranews24 reported.
According to JIM’s website, professional visit passes are issued to foreign stage artists who wish to perform in Malaysia and applications should be forwarded to Puspal for approval.
The event’s Facebook page had arranged various activities like a stage performance and exhibition booths, where some were selling fan-made products.
The Newpaper interviewed the event’s organizer, Syafiq, and he said he did not directly address questions properly whether he sought prior permission from Puspal. Instead, he said those who were detained did not get paid to perform nor they worked for the event.
They talked to Syafiq over the phone on Tuesday (Mar 26) about the matter, he said the invited cosplayers paid their own transportation and accommodation; only locals performers were paid.
Syafiq was released from Custody on Sunday (Mar 24) and said, “These people are just hobbyists…
“They are also my friends. That’s why they were willing to come.”
He added that the 11 foreigners were being locked up inside the immigration department at Jalan Duta and he was ready to take responsibility for the incident.
He had informed their respective embassies and parents, who were given daily updates. He even mentioned he has hired a lawyer for the 10 of 11 detainees who did not have their own legal representation.
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