Over 520 Filipino migrants deported from Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: A total of 527 Filipinos, who were arrested for entering the state illegally, were deported back to their home country by the state Immigration Department.

Sabah Immigration Department director Sitti Saleha Habib Yusoff said the deportees departed from Sandakan port after they were put on a ferry MV Antonia 1 bound for the southern Philippines at 9.15pm on Wednesday (Sept 28).

She said the deportees comprised 383 men, 106 women and the remaining were children.

They were all detained at the four Sabah Immigration depots- Kota Kinabalu, Papar, Sandakan and Tawau - before they were transferred to Sandakan.

In a statement Thursday (Sept 29), Sitti Saleha said this was the third deportation exercise involving Filipino nationals this year.

She said as part of the deportation process, all detainees had to undergo a strict health screening process including a Covid-19 test and isolation for a set period of time.

"This is to ensure that none of them is infected with Covid-19 infection and it will allow for safe deportation to their home country," Sitti Saleha said, adding that the health screening was a standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the Health Ministry.

"Most of the detainees have already received complete vaccinations and booster vaccinations," she added.

She said all those deported were found guilty of committing offences under the Immigration Act 1959/63 and the Immigration Regulations 1963.

She said they have all undergone their respective court sentences and were ordered to be deported after serving their jail term.

She urged all foreign nationals to have a valid travel document and work permit first, including having obtained permission to enter the state of Sabah to avoid running afoul of the country's immigration laws.

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