KOTA KINABALU, Dec 16, 2014:

As far as the welfare of Filipinos in Sabah is concerned, their own government must take responsibility to ensure their demands are met, including their children’s educational needs.

Penampang Member of Parliament Darell Leiking said this was vital following the large presence of Filipinos in Sabah — legal or otherwise — stressing that it was unfair to blame the Malaysian government for depriving the children of a proper education.

The Philippine government, he explained, needed to invest in schools for their nationals so that when they returned home, they would have the necessary skills.

“Learn from the Indonesian government.

“They have set up a consulate in Sabah to care for their nationals and even set up schools for their children, sponsored by the government,” Leiking told The Rakyat Post.

The PKR lawmaker was commenting on the remarks by Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J Eduardo Malaya that children of Filipino migrants in Malaysia deserved formal education.

Leiking said the Philippine government’s refusal to set up a consulate in Sabah was probably due to the fear of admitting that the state was no longer theirs, as claimed.

He urged the Philippine government to accept the fact that Sabah was a sovereign nation and that it needed to set up a consulate in the state for the good of its people.

“Filipino migrants must be registered to allow them to have better opportunities in Sabah, to have a life and proper jobs.”

Leiking said it was unfair to impose Filipino problems unto Sabah or the Malaysian government simply because the Philippine government refused to take responsibility for its own people.

Parti Bersatu Sabah secretary-general Datuk Johnny Mositun also blamed the Philippine government for neglecting their people in Sabah.

“I cannot accept the apathy and indifference shown by Manila towards its own nationals in Sabah,” he said when responding to Malaya’s statement, adding that the number of Filipinos in Sabah was huge with “tens of thousands children”.

Mositun questioned the apathy of the neighbouring country towards its people which he felt contributed directly to the misery of Filipinos in Sabah.

He accused the Philippine government of denying substantial services or assistance to its people.

“They survive only because the Malaysian government adheres strictly to international norms and standards of law and human rights.”

He said it was sheer hypocrisy to talk about providing basic education for 2,234 children of Filipino immigrants in Sabah when the number was bigger than that.

Like Leiking, Mositun believes it was time Manila took a bigger share of the responsibility and looked after the welfare and needs of Philippine citizens in Sabah, instead of burdening Malaysia.

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