Speeding up deportations to avoid congestion

Illegal immigrants from the Philippines being deported from Sabah.

KOTA KINABALU - The authorities are speeding up the deportation of illegal immigrants from various temporary detention centres here to avoid congestion and the spread of disease, says Sabah Immigration Department director Noor Alam Khan.

He said the detention centres were becoming more congested as operations to flush out illegal immigrants in Sabah continue.

"Deportation is carried out twice a week, with about 150 to 200 people being sent back each time," he said during the department's Hari Raya open house yesterday.

The deportation points are Sandakan and Tawau, while the detention centres, other than the state prisons, are in Papar, Sibuga in Sandakan and Tawau.

Noor Alam said there were 2,628 illegal immigrants still awaiting deportation from the three main detention centres, adding that the figures did not include those held in prisons.

He said 8,223 illegal immigrants in Sabah had been deported to their home countries over seven months this year.

"We have a 22 per cent increase in illegals being detained compared to last year. As such, we need to speed up the deportation process.

"We need to prevent congestion and the spread of disease in the centres although no such problem has been reported," he said.

Noor Alam said that of those deported, 6,304 were from the Philippines, Indonesia (1,806), China (36), Vietnam (30) Pakistan (29) while the rest were from other countries.

He added that raids would also include plantations and industrial sites.

Noor Alam said five Indonesians and 10 Filipinos were detained for not possessing travel documents in Menggatal and Telipok on Tuesday.