A very long rambling post.
So if you are following me on Twitter or reading my Facebook status updates for the past few days, you must have noticed my ramblings about getting customs clearance for my N900.
9 days have passed since I wrote my previous post and I haven’t get a chance to hold the sexy beast in my hands. When I wrote my previous post, the device was already in Singapore. It reached Kuching on the next day – 30th November 2009 which is also *cough cough* my 27th birthday. *throws confetti*
I received a call from DHL Express in the afternoon informing me that the N900 was denied clearance because of the lack of necessary documents. So for anyone out there who needs to know;
1. For any telecommunication device to be imported into Malaysia, the importer/recipient must first apply for the permit of import/license as specified in the Customs Act. This is apart from the usual customs duties, taxes etc. And for telecommunication devices, the license/permit application is made to the Statutory Body called SIRIM Berhad.
Actually it is best for you check with customs beforehand if you want to import anything from the oversea or anyone is going to send you anything from oversea on the paperwork required. I admit my mistake for not doing the necessary paperwork even though I clearly aware that WOMWorld Nokia is sending me a trial device which in this case needs a permit to bring in.
My excuse? I was not quite sure whether WOMWorld Nokia would send it for real at that time. (And also hoping for some sort divine interventions for the shipping to be smooth all the way hehehe)
Back to the story, so I applied and paid RM100 for the permit. It was all done within one and a half day, thanks to the very efficient SIRIM Berhad officer. Originally the permit amount is RM200 but I stressed that the device is not belong to me and it is only for trial purpose so I was given the RM100 discount. SIRIM Berhad is so generous. *weak smile*
2. Now, if you bring in things (intentionally or unintentionally – ignorance is not an excuse under the law) without permit, that is considered as an offence. You’re violating the Customs Act 1967 (revised 1980) and can be penalised for that.
So I was informed beforehand by a DHL Express agent when the N900 was stuck in customs that I would need to apply for SIRIM permit and pay a certain amount of penalty, minimum RM100. Imagine my horror when I was told I need to pay RM1200 for the penalty. Niaaaaaaaamaaaaaaaaaaaah!
DHL Express asked me to liase directly with the customs officer after they failed to explain my situation to him – it’s a temporary export, trial device etc. So I called up the officer, which I shall not name for now (yet) and talked to him.
We had a very long chat and even though I explained my side of the story and everything, he refused to change his decision. When confronted with such ridiculous amount to be paid when it’s only a temporary import, he brushed it off and quoted the ‘Section 135 – Penalties for smuggling offences’ to maybe intimidate me. He said customs has the right to penalise me up to 10 times or even 20 times of the custom duties amount based on the declared package value.
The N900 package was declared at 400 GBP – roughly RM2240 and the custom duties is about 10-15% = RM224 to RM336. He told me he was being generous to compound me only about 5 times the custom duties.
I perfectly understand I have committed an offense and I should be penalised for that but RM1200 compound is just ridiculous especially when it is just a trial device, which I can only play for few weeks before sending it back to WOMWorld Nokia.
I then asked the officer to provide me the necessary ‘black and white’ for me to inform WOMWorld Nokia and ask whether the company will bear the costs on my behalf. But he told me if he issues the compound, I would need to settle it within 3 days or customs would seize the item. WTF?! He was not being helpful at all and I was quite disheartened at that time so I just thanked him for everything and I would see what I could do to solve this problem.
By then I already decided I would reject the shipment and ask it to be sent back to WOMWorld. Maybe do it properly when given another chance at it in the future. So I wrote a long letter to WOMWorld explaning the situation and thought that awas it, end of the story.
Somehow, I was really annoyed and angry being treated that way so yesterday afternoon I looked up Royal Malaysian Customs Department website and found some contact numbers and call them up. I managed to talk to a very senior customs officer in charge of the import/export department and asked for his opinions and advices. He seems to understand my predicament and ensured me this can be settled in a more pleasant way and gave me a personal number of one customs officer to call.
I asked him, “This customs officer is in charge of Kuching?” which he replied “Not only Kuching, he is in charge of Sarawak”. So I called up this high ranking officer and found out he was on vacation but still answered my call anyway and told him my story.
To cut the story short, he promised to talk to his subordinate and clear this matter for me. He even called me in the evening around 7pm to tell me he already clarified the matter with the previous ‘not-so-friendly-and-reasonable’ customs officer and said I can go and collect my package anytime.
Then this morning, I called up the ”not-so-friendly-and-reasonable’ customs officer again. He didn’t sound very happy obviously because for each questions I asked, he answered in a short one liner – Ah. Okay. Hmm. Umm. He didn’t say no to my request and only ‘aye aye’ when I told him I that DHL would go and collect on my behalf. Then I called up DHL and asked them to make the necessary arrangements for me.
So I thought, finally I can get my N900 to play with and even tweeted about it. Then I received a call from DHL saying the officer still refused to clear my package and tried to call me but couldn’t get me. I was in a meeting and I didn’t get any missed call so I told DHL to tell the officer to call me again.
The ”not-so-friendly-and-reasonable’ customs officer called me up and then said he will only release the item if I go to see him personally. This is because, the ‘instructions’ from his boss is to hand it to me personally so that he can explain to me on ‘how things work’.
So I have no choice, I have to make a quick stop at his office this Thurday on my short trip to Kuching. I hope I can get my N900 by then. N900, almost there!
Thank you for reading. I bet most of you drop dead after the 3rd or 4th paragraph 😉
Tags: Bureaucracy, Customs, Customs Acts, Device, DHL Express, Handphones, Kuching, Malaysia, Mobile Phones, N900, Pain in the ass, Penalty, Permit, Ramblings, Rants, Sarawak, SIRIM, Telecommunication