KOTA KINABALU: Immigration officials have the duty to verify whether a child under the age of 18, is travelling with a parent or legal guardian.
State Immigration Department director Sitti Saleha Habib Yussof said immigration officials at entry and exit points such as the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) were entrusted with the responsibility of preventing the trafficking of children among other matters.
“We must also make sure that no children are brought in and out of this state without their parent’s consent, that there are no stateless or children with false birth certificates leaving or entering the state, and that the guardians bringing these children are legal guardians,” she said.
Her statement comes after a passenger recently shared her experience of being asked to produce her son’s birth certificates and that immigration officials at the checkpoint initially refused to acknowledge his Mykid when they arrived at KKIA.
As per her Facebook post, the passenger said she and her son were going through the checkpoint together as her husband had gone through the counter earlier without them.
She said she had produced her son’s Mykid but the official still did not allow them to pass the immigration checkpoint.
She said she was referred to another officer for clarification before they finally let her and her son pass.
She also said that the immigration official claimed that there had been cases of children being brought in or out of Sabah without consent.
Sitti said immigration officials stationed at the KKIA must properly verify the status and identity of every passenger in and out of the state.
“We need to prevent the possibilities of a child being taken in or out of Sabah without the consent of their legal guardians,” she said.
She said immigration officials also work with the other security agencies at airports to ensure the safety of all passengers.