Sabah stops registration of children of Filipino refugees

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Immigration Department has suspended the registration of IMM13 passes for children of Filipino refugees, less than two weeks after the ban was lifted.

Its director Musa Sulaiman (pic) said the decision was made following “uncontrolled controversial news in the public and social media”.

He said the move, imposed yesterday, was also for the department to analyse their shortcomings after the registration ban on IMM13 documents was lifted on Oct 1.

“We need to stop it for the time being ... there were too many issues that came up after the ban was lifted,” he said.

On Thursday, Musa said there would not be any deadline to the IMM13 application and urged those eligible not to rush for it.

Over the past few days, the Wisma Dang Bandang building had been overwhelmed with refugees wanting to register their undocumented children.

It is understood the matter caused unease not only among staff but also the public.

According to reports, there are some 55,000 IMM13 pass holders in Sabah, mostly Filipino refugees who fled to the state following a civil war in their country in the late 1960s and early 70s.

The ban on IMM13 registration for their children was imposed in 2013 for security reasons.

The state government has maintained its stand that it was not issuing instant citizenship but documentation to identify and ascertain the population of Sabah.

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