Monday, October 20, 2008


No evidence of illegals ill treated at centre


The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has found no signs of any “official and deliberate” attempt to violate human rights of Filipino illegal immigrants at detention centres in Sabah. Suhakam Vice Chairman Tan Sri Simon Sipaun, who led a four-member team of Suhakam Commissioners to the temporary detention centre in Kota Belud yesterday, said they found no evidence of ill treatment of illegal immigrants at the detention centres. He said Suhakam carried out the probe after their counterparts in the Philippines, the Philippines Human Rights Commission, wrote to them highlighting claims of bad treatment by Malaysian authorities on their nationals while in detention in Sabah. He said the grouses of some Filipino deportees might be due to the slow process of obtaining Filipino travel documents. “It is a general complaint and there was no specific case for us to refer to. It is like searching for a needle in a haystack,” he said yesterday. Sipaun said that the complaints could have arisen based on the long detention of Filipino nationals whose embassy officials were slow in providing relevant travel documents for their nationals to be deported “This slow process by officials from the Philippines embassy in Kuala Lumpur to provide documents might be among the reasons for them to claim bad treatment,” he said, adding that the Philippines Government should set up a consulate in Sabah to facilitate speedy deportation of their citizens. Manila had recently raised the issue of alleged abuse following the start of the latest Ops Bersepadu operations to flush out illegal immigrants in Sabah since Aug 7. Officials here said that there has been no complaints from Indonesian illegal immigrants mainly because Indonesia had consular offices in both Kota Kinabalu and Tawau to assist their citizens.