Sabah Immigration Dept halts issuance of IMM13 passes for children of Filipino refugees

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Immigration Department is stopping the registration of IMM13 passes for children of Filipino refugees from Friday (Oct 12).

Its director Musa Sulaiman said this was being done for the department to analyse their weaknesses after the registration ban on IMM13 documents was lifted on Oct 1.

He added that there was also uncontrolled, controversial 'news' that was being spread on social media by the public.

"We need to stop it for the time being as there were too many unwanted issues that came up after the ban was lifted," he said without elaborating further.

"We need to study the whole thing and see how other ways to solve the issues at hand," added Musa.

The government has maintained its stand that they were not issuing instant citizenship but merely providing some sort of documentation to identify and record the population of Sabah.

On Thursday (Oct 11), he said that there would be no deadline to the IMM13 application and urged those eligible to not rush.

Over the last few days, thousands of Filipino refugees in Sabah gathered at the Immigration office in Wisma Dang Bandang to get their children registered for the IMM13 pass after 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.