PETALING JAYA: The two undocumented Filipino toddlers under the age of two held at the Bukit Jalil Immigration detention centre since June 14 will be released and deported back to their country on Wednesday (July 3).
Immigration Department director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud confirmed this, saying that basic facilities were also provided for the children detained at the centre.
“The babies will be deported to their country by tomorrow, July 3, 2019,” Khairul Dzaimee told The Star.
Regarding equipment at the centre, "we do provide basic facilities for the children," said Khairul Dzaimee, who also forwarded pictures of the children playing at the detention centre's nursery.
He said "the slight delay (in their release) was because of the investigation and documentation processes".
Earlier, non-governmental organisation Tenaganita called for the immediate release of the toddlers, who were detained during an immigration raid at the Plaza Indah apartment in Kajang on the night of June 14, where they were being watched over by a relative as their mothers were not home.
Tenaganita executive director Glorene A. Das said the mothers, who possess valid visas, have since been informed by the Immigration Department that the children could be sent back to the Philippines together with them if they have travel documents issued by their embassy.
She said Tenaganita was informed that the Philippine Embassy was ready to provide the travel documents once the deportation papers for the toddlers had been prepared by the Immigration Department.
She said according to the investigation officer from the Investigation and Enforcement Unit of the Immigration Department, the deportation order and other necessary documents were prepared and sent to the Bukit Jalil Immigration detention centre on June 27.
However, the Bukit Jalil immigration detention centre said they had no knowledge of the deportation order and was still awaiting instruction from Putrajaya, despite repeated inquiries by the mothers and the attorney appointed by the Philippine Embassy, said Glorene.
Calling for their release, Glorene said the toddlers have also continued to be detained despite interventions by the Philippine Embassy and the office of the Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh.
“The babies have been deprived of the care of their mothers and held in less than hospitable conditions for the last 20 days with no end in sight to their plight,” Glorene said in a statement Tuesday (July 2).
The lack of communication and coordination between the different units in the Immigration Department was distressing, she said, adding that the detention of children violated child rights.
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