Singaporeans love to travel to Malaysia for many reasons – for work, the cheap petrol, the amazing food, soak in the culture, Shi-B Cafe, extremely picturesque cafes, or just take advantage of the really good exchange rate.
It’s so convenient that you can head north to Johor via KTM, shop around, and come back to Singapore in the same day. So naturally, you wouldn’t think about buying travel insurance just for a few hours spent overseas.
But just last week, news of a Singapore-registered Honda Civic Type R ($220,000!!!) got stolen from Genting Highlands’ SkyAvenue shopping mall fuelled some fear and worry amongst Singaporean drivers. Then, few days ago, there was also the red Kia SND6000Z license plate lady who “vandalised” another uncle’s van. Scary, you know?
The worse part, your fears about your belongings and car getting stolen in JB or Malaysia are not unfounded. Way back in 2015, camera footage of a woman being robbed in Malaysia while she was cleaning her front porch with the gate ajar went viral on Facebook. This happened at 9am in the morning! It’s yet another reminder that a robbery can happen anytime, anywhere.
Whether it’s car theft, snatch theft, armed robbery or any number of crimes, here’s what to do if you unfortunately get robbed while travelling in Malaysia.
1. Cancel all stolen credit cards
I know you’ve just gone through a really traumatic event, and that you’re probably shaking from the shock, but it is very important that you cancel a stolen credit card as soon as you discover it’s been taken. This is for two reasons.
- You want to prevent the card from being used. If you wait too long to call your bank to report your card stolen, you might be held responsible for any transactions done on the card before your report. Yes, even if they were fraudulent transactions made by the robbers.
- Even when a card is cancelled, any transaction done on the card can still be traced. Credit card companies can find out where a card is being used even after it’s been blocked. By reporting your credit cards stolen early, you may indirectly help track down the location of the robbers.
So, be sure to make a note of the contact number of your bank whenever you travel abroad. The toll-free number (aka the 1800 number) will not be valid when you’re overseas. This doesn’t just apply to credit cards, of course. Stolen debit cards and ATM cards should be reported within the same call.
Report Lost Credit Card Hotline (you’re calling from overseas)
- DBS/POSB Hotline: +65 6339 6963
- OCBC Hotline: +65 6363 3333
- UOB Hotline: +65 6222 2121
- Citibank Hotline: +65 6337 5519
- CIMB Hotline: +65 6333 6666
- Standard Chartered Hotline: +65 6747 7000
- HSBC Hotline: +65 6472 2669
- Bank Of China Hotline: +65 6779 5566
- ICBC Hotline: +65 6369 5588
- Maybank Hotline: +65 6533 5229
- American Express Hotline: +65 6396 6000
2. File police report, get printed report
Yes, believe it or not, informing the police is not the first thing you have to do. But, it is definitely a crucial next step after getting your credit cards blocked. Almost all insurance companies require a written police report in order to process your claims. Most even require you to have made the police report within 24 hours from the time of the robbery.
Depending on which part of Malaysia you’re in, it might be a good idea to brush up on your Bahasa Melayu, just in case the police officer who assists you isn’t conversant in English.
Either way, try your best to recount the robbery, providing as much detail as you can. Before you leave, make sure you have an original printed copy of the report or, at the very least, an acknowledgement slip or receipt to indicate the time and location that the official police report was made.
3. Passport stolen? Call Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur
The Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is open from Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm. Note that you cannot walk into the Singapore High Commission in KL just because you’re Singaporean. You must make an appointment to get your lost passport replaced. Here are the opening hours and details:
High Commission of the Republic of Singapore in Kuala Lumpur
209, Jalan Tun Raza
50400 Kuala Lumpur
Contact Number: +60-3-2161-6277
Emergency Tel Number: +60-16-661-0400
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30am to 1pm, 2pm to 5pm
(Closed on Sat, Sun, Public Holidays)
Make Appointment Online: Here
You will need to first go on ICA’s website, login with SingPass, to report your passport lost overseas. Then, go to Singapore High Commission KL’s website to book a lost passport appointment. These appointments are only 5 mins, presumably just to verify and collect your temporary travel document.
Before you travel, it may even be a good idea to make photocopies of your IC and passport for emergencies such as these.
You will need to make another trip to Malaysian Immigration in KL to inform them of your temporary travel document before you travel back to Singapore.
Unfortunately, if you’re in JB, there is only one Singapore High Commission in Malaysia and you will still need to travel to KL to get your temporary immigration pass to travel back to Singapore. Oops!
4. Claim from Travel Insurance
If you thought the whole traumatic experience would end when you return to Singapore, then you’ve never dealt with insurance claims before. This is, of course, assuming you BOUGHT travel insurance for your Malaysia short trip in the first place.
How to claim my personal belongings loss, passport loss (travel document loss), or car theft from travel or car insurance?
Firstly, you’ll need make sure you have all the necessary paperwork in your hands. Not only do you have to provide the police report, but a bunch of other documents that proves you lost your item in a particular place.
Let’s take for example, you lost your Honda Civic Type R in Genting Highland, SkyAvenue shopping mall. You need to minimally have these documents on hand:
- Official printed police report of your loss
- Official printed report of your loss from SkyAvenue shopping mall management
- Any official CCTV footage and proof that your Type R was indeed parked in the shopping mall’s carpark
- The official CCTV footage of your car being driven down Genting
- Your official purchase receipt with price stated from Honda, Kah Motor (or whatever secondhand dealer you got it from)
- All your One Motoring details
- Official insurance policy you purchased for this trip/ car insurance with Malaysia coverage
In the case of credit card fraud, you will also need written confirmation from the bank that indicates the date you advised them of the theft. Normally, this is automatically generated and mailed to you, but if you need it urgently, they should be able to provide a softcopy or fax upon request.
It gets worse if you’re hoping to claim for loss of personal belongings. If your handbag was stolen, for example, insurance companies would require you to provide proof of ownership. Primarily, the best is to provide the original receipt. Of course, if you’re like most people, that’s not going to happen. Some insurance companies may allow alternative proof such as bank statements, photographs or even the packaging.
So, the next time you head into JB or Malacca, even if it’s just for a day, it doesn’t hurt to buy travel insurance.
Do you have any other tips of what to do if you get robbed in Malaysia? Share them with us.