KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia is investigating a claim by the Philippines that 11 children deported to Zamboanga City from Sabah earlier this year are not its citizens.
The Federal Special Task Force was reassessing the status of the children after the Philippines Embassy in Kuala Lumpur sent it an informal note saying that the children aged below 15 years were not Filipinos.
STF assistant director (enforcement) Asst Comm Sidin Karim, in confirming that they were investigating the claims, said they had yet to find any new evidence to indicate that the children were Malaysians.
ACP Sidin said the embassy requested verification of their citizenship status based on the reasoning that no relative had come to claim the children now under the care of the Philippines welfare department.
The embassy also claimed that the children did not speak any of the Filipino languages, ACP Sidin.
“We are looking into it. We cannot say anything yet as our investigations are still in progress,” he said yesterday.
ACP Sidin explained too that no one had come forward to claim the children when they were kept at a temporary immigration depot after being rounded up during operations.
“They were screened before deportation,” he said, adding that Philippine officials had also interviewed them.
“If they are Malaysians, we have no problems taking them back. But at this point we have no fresh evidence to indicate that they are Malaysians,” he said.
He said the embassy had furnished them with details on the whereabouts of their parents in Sabah but in some cases, the information was inadequate.
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