Children do not belong in Immigration depots, says Saifuddin

KUALA LUMPUR: Children should not be detained at Immigration depots, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution.

The Home Minister said discussions were being held with several agencies on how to resolve the issue, including the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry.

He said it is necessary to look at laws that could be invoked to remove the children from the depots and place them elsewhere.

Saifuddin also denied that his decision to remove children detained at Immigration depots was a reaction to an incident in Lenggong recently.

"The incident in Lenggong happened only a few days ago. My engagement with the agencies under my ministry and non-governmental organisations began as soon as I took office," he told reporters at a press conference in Parliament on Thursday (Feb 16).

He said he had also brought the issue of children detained at Immigration depots to the attention of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

On Feb 3, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) expressed concern over the fate of children who were among those detained during a recent raid at an illegal settlement in Negri Sembilan.

They were among 67 Indonesians without travel documents who were detained during a joint raid on Feb 1 carried out by several government agencies in a secluded area which had been turned into a settlement in Nilai.

Those detained are between two months and 72 years of age and of those arrested, 11 were men, 20 women and the rest being children.

On Wednesday (Feb 15), Saifuddin said the children would soon be removed from detention at Immigration depots and placed in the care of organisations that specialise in child welfare.

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