KOTA KINABALU: Some 380 Filipino illegal immigrants were deported to their home country after they were screened for Covid-19.
National Security Council Sabah director Sharifah Sitti Saleha Habib said on Wednesday (July 29) that the deportees were sent back on a ferry via Sandakan port to Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines.
She said all were screened for Covid-19, and measures were also in place to ensure hygienic conditions were maintained at the centres and before they boarded the ferry in Sandakan.
She said including the latest batch, 5,245 illegal immigrants had been deported from Sabah to their home countries so far this year.
“We are thankful for all the assistance given by the Philippine government in assisting the smooth deportation process, ” she added.
Sharifah said the state National Security Council together with the Immigration Department and other relevant agencies were continuing deportation exercises despite the ongoing concerns over Covid-19.
She said action against illegal immigrants by enforcement agencies was appreciated and hoped that local communities would provide information to assist in checking the problem.
She said the public could contact the National Task Force at 011-6251 1223 if they had any information on illegal immigrants.
“Local communities must also be cautious about the presence of illegal immigrants as their health status is hard to ascertain, especially when cases of Covid-19 in neighbouring countries are reportedly rising, ” she added.
Meanwhile, Sharifah said that 57 Malaysian citizens and 18 Filipino spouses who were stranded in the Philippines following the March 2020 lockdown had returned to Sabah on the same ferry that sent the deportees back from Sandakan on Tuesday (July 28).
She said their return was organised by the Malaysian Consul’s Office in Davao and the Philippines embassy.
They have been ordered to undergo compulsory quarantine at a centre in Sandakan.