TAWAU: The state Immigration Department is ready to assist Indonesian consulate officials in deporting their nationals who are caught for vice but they must follow Malaysian deportation regulations.
State Immigration deputy director Ismail Ahmad said that his department was bound by deportation procedures and could not hand over such women to the consulate while they were still on Malaysian soil.
He said this when asked about a call by Indonesian consul officials for such women to be handed over to the consul.
Ismail said that they could only hand over the women to the consul once they pass the international maritime borderline.
“The consul can take over once they have crossed the international borders,” he said, adding that the consulate officials can obtain the deportation details from the state Immigration officials.
Indonesian Consul officer in Tawau Makdun Tahir had last month urged Malaysian Immigration officials to hand over such women to the consul who wanted to facilitate their safe return home.
Makdun had said that some of these women who were sent back via the normal deportation process had been “hijacked” by middlemen or pimps the moment they landed in Indonesia and were brought back to Sabah.
Ismail said his department understood the concerns of the Indonesians over the safety of their women who were forced into vice activities.
“Their intention is to personally send them back to their home towns so that they don’t end up in the same trade again.
“But we cannot do it because deportation is our responsibility. If these women are handed over to them and they abscond, we are the ones who will be held responsible,” he explained.
Ismail said if the consul wanted to do the deportation, it could contact his department to fix the dates.
“We can meet at the port and accompany the deportees to the border check post of Nunukan with the Indonesian consul officers,” he said, adding that they could take over from there.
Recently 13 women forced into prostitution managed to escape from their hotel in Keningau and sought the assistance of the Indonesian consul in Kota Kinabalu before they were sent home.
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