KOTA KINABALU: A total of 799 Philippine nationals were deported from Sabah’s east coast Sandakan district on Tuesday (April 18).
They were detainees previously held at the immigration depots here and in Papar.
Sabah Immigration director Datuk Sharifah Sitti Saleha Habib Yusoff said the detainees had been caught for various immigration offences under the Immigration Act 1959/63 and Immigration Rules 1963.
Under the department’s 11th deportation exercise by sea this year, Sharifah said they boarded the MV Antonia 1 ferry at the Sandakan port which was bound for Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines.
"The detainees comprised 687 men, 72 women and 40 children," she said, in a statement here on Wednesday (April 19).
She said five of the children were aged 23 months and below, adding the other detainees aged between 13 and 66.
"The children deported were under the care of respective parents or guardians," she added.
Sharifah said the penalty meted against the detainees were in line with the Immigration Act and the country’s process law including up to the deportation phase.
"As such, all foreigners are reminded to ensure they have the necessary valid travel passes or work permits in Sabah before entering the country.
"All enforcement agencies in the state will not hesitate to take strict action against those found violating the law," she said.
Towards this end, Sharifah said the Sabah Immigration Department has so far deported 3,279 people to their countries of origin as of April 18 this year.
She added 3,593 were sent home via ferry.
"At the same time, 136 detainees were deported home by air.
"These exercises were part of the on-going operation by the department to deport detainees kept at all immigration depots in Sabah," she said.
Thanking the Sabah government, Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and other agencies involved in the exercise, Sharifah said the department was committed towards enforcing the country’s immigration regulations and deportation processes.