For more than a month, Malaysian authorities detained Nigerian national Simon Momoh even after he had paid a fine and served his one-day jail term for a drink-driving offence. Although a court has since ruled that Malaysia’s Immigration Department had unlawfully detained Simon, his detention and the threat of deportation brought to light the many challenges foreign spouses and transnational families face in the country.

On this episode, Deborah Augustin speaks to Bina Ramanand, founding member of Family Frontiers and co-founder of the Foreign Spouses Support Group; and Naz, a Malaysian in a transnational marriage, to share their experience and to talk about the existing policies in place that affect these families.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Yi Peng Yap

Yap Yi Peng is a freelance writer, researcher, and trend forecaster, specializing in digital media and marketing. She is New Naratif’s Social Media Manager. During her time at the Fashion Institute of Technology, she worked closely with the institute’s Writing Studio as a peer tutor to produce a guide on inclusive language that covered alternatives and methods to combat oppressive and harmful language. She is also working towards creating an interactive workshop on the aforementioned topic to educate the importance of communication by recalibrating our subconscious assumptions. Reach her at

Deborah Germaine Augustin

Deborah Germaine Augustin is a Malaysian writer and researcher. Previously, she worked as a Parliamentary Assistant for the MP of Kelana Jaya. She is currently working on a cross-genre chapbook about immigration in the United States. She is New Naratif's Member Engagement Coordinator. Reach her at