7,000 illegal immigrants can be detained at any one time soon
The setting- up of two new temporary detention centres in Sabah and upgrading of the existing ones, would soon allow up to 7,000 illegal immigrants to be held at any one time. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman in disclosing this during the State Security Working Committee meeting yesterday, said the two new centres would be set up in Papar and Sandakan, which would be able to accommodate 2,000 and 1,500 illegal immigrants, respectively. “There is an overflow of detainees at the existing detention centers,” he said. Construction on the new ones will start soon and is expected to complete within this year while extension and upgrade works on the Tawau centre will also be implemented, according to him. Musa said the move followed the recent meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi here. With the additional temporary detention’ centres, the authorities hoped to beef up operations to detain illegal immigrants and send them back to their countries of origin, he said. “We are working closely with Wisma Putra to find a more effective way to deport the detainees to their respective countries. “The Indonesian Government has been very cooperative but we do face problems with The Philippine Government in terms of processing documents for their nationals caught in Sabah,” he said. Musa also said that the ‘zero illegaI immigrants’ target is available in Sabah if every agency plays its respective role.