BINTULU, June 24, 2015:
The Sarawak Immigration Department deported more than 500 illegal immigrants back to the Southern Philippines over the past week.
The Borneo Post reported that 260 Suluks and Bajaus were deported from Bintulu Port yesterday, in a follow-up operation that saw 253 deported earlier last week.
In Tuesday’s operation, the department’s enforcement chief Garry Belayong John Sikie said those deported were aged between five-days and 63-years-old.
They were deported with the assistance from the Royal Malaysian Navy.
“38 babies and 69 children were taken to Sepanggar Bay on board KD Mahawangsa before they were processed to their final destination in Zamboanga, Philippines using ferry services from Sandakan.”
Those deported were given medical attention from three medical staff and a doctor together with 23 immigration officers to ensure smooth deportation process
The Philippines Embassy which assisted in documenting the illegal immigrants recorded 780 Suluks and Bajaus in Miri recently and provided them with relevant travel documents prior to being deported.
It was also learnt that the immigrants have been in Miri since the 80’s and were working in various sectors across the state.
Garry also said many of the illegal immigrants came in voluntarily for the deportation following stern calls for action by the Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
In March, Adenan called for swift action against illegal immigrants before they could pose major problems to the state.
The problem was raised by several fishermen in Miri after reports of Suluks and Bajaus fishing off their coast earlier this year.
Adenan also pointed their presence in the state was facilitated by unscrupulous businessmen who were exploiting them for cheap labour.