SANDAKAN, Sept 6 — The delay in the deportation of immigrants in Sabah is due to the long-running process in issuing travel documents at the embassies of the immigrants’ countries of origin, even though the borders of the countries have been opened this year.

Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Khairul Dzaimee Daud said most of the immigrants have been waiting for a long time, especially those held at detention depots since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world.

 “There are 15,166 foreigners in detention depots nationwide. Of the total, 7,200 are detained in Sabah, of which about 6,000 are Filipinos. The repatriation will continue according to the current standard operating procedures.

“Filipino and Indonesian immigrants will be deported through the ports of Sandakan to Zamboanga, and from Tawau to Nunukan, respectively,” he told reporters after observing the deportation of Filipino immigrants today.

He admitted that all four Immigration detention depots in Tawau, Sandakan, Papar and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah have exceeded their capacity throughout the pandemic.

Today’s deportation of Filipino detainees involved 638 men, 81 women, 30 children aged 12 and below and one 23-month-old baby.

Khairul Dzaimee said 22,4498 immigrants from Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Bangladesh and the Philippines have been repatriated this year.


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