Kota Kinabalu August 14, 2012: The Federal Government is forking out about RM12 million a year to nab, process and deport illegal immigrants in Sabah.
Federal Special Task Force for Sabah and Labuan Director, Datuk Suhaimi Mohd Salleh, said the funds are used to finance all expenses covering the integrated operations, supply of food and drinks for the detainees, rental of vehicles, ferry services and medical costs for them.
"The government is serious and sincere in intensifying efforts to chase out the illegal immigrants from Sabah, apart from having the announcement on the Royal Commission of Inquiry by the Prime Minister on Saturday.
"This year alone we have spent RM4.2 million to cover all the costs at the detention centres up to sending the detainees home using ferry services,"
he said, adding that 24 series of operations have been carried to track down illegal immigrants.
Suhaimi said this to reporters at the Federal Administrative Complex along Jalan Sulaman, Monday. He was commenting on criticism that the Government was not doing enough to rid Sabah of illegals.
As of now, he said a total of 7,173 illegals had been deported to their countries of origin. The figure also covered arrests in various operations carried out by all enforcement agencies in the State.
"Under our own operation known as Ops Tanduk, a total of 1,954 foreign migrants without documents were detained from January to Aug 13.
"The figure comprised 1,583 Filipinos followed by 364 Indonesians, five Pakistanis, one each from China and Brunei Darussalam," Suhaimi said.
He said most of them were detained at the Temporary Detention Centre in Papar before being deported.
On street children, Suhaimi said 21 such aged between six and 15 have been rescued in the city area, all believed from the Philippines.
"Normally, we would put these stateless children at the centre from six to eight months but if there is still no one claiming them as their children or relatives, then we would attend to their needs until they are 18 at the centre.
"We also provide basic education to these children by sending teachers to the centre to educate them," he said.
Under normal procedure, Suhaimi said the agency would determine the real age of the stateless children who had been rescued from the streets based on their dental x-rays.
"We need to determine the age of these children because many of them claim to be under 16 when in fact several were found to be above 16.
"We can take appropriate action against them when they are above 18," he said.