KOTA KINABALU: Thousands of Filipino refugees in Sabah are heading towards the Immigration office in Wisma Dang Bandang to get their children registered for the IMM13 pass since applications for it reopened on Oct 1.
The issuance of the IMM13 pass for children of Filipino refugees (who fled to Sabah following the civil war in the Philippines in the late 1960s and 70s) was stopped in 2013 following security concerns, among other reasons.
However, the government decided to reopen the application for IMM13 holders' children as a way to solve stateless and undocumented children woes in Sabah.
There are currently a total of 55,000 IMM13 holders in Sabah.
A staff member who did not want to be identified said that over the past few days, there had been huge crowds of people rushing to get inside as soon as the gate opened.
"Someone would get hurt if this continues, we hope security forces will assist in controlling the situation," said the staff member.
Sabah Immigration Department director Musa Sulaiman requested that applicants remain calm and not rush.
"Their children are undocumented, they can't go to school and they have no rights, so we understand why they are acting this way," he said.
Referring to viral videos showing people running into the Wisma Dang Bandang office, Musa urged those involved to take it easy to avoid accidents or unwanted incidents.
"There is actually no need for you all (IMM13 holders) to go running every day because there is no deadline to have your children registered for the pass," he said.
He said the rules were strict and only those with complete, original and genuine supporting documents, including the child's birth records, are allowed to apply.
"(Applications from) those whose parents are not IMM13 holders, or whose children do not have the documents needed will not be entertained," Musa added.