Malaysia has reached an agreement with the Philippines and will be sending back its citizens who have illegally made Sabah their home, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.
Najib said Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte extended his cooperation during their recent meeting in Putrajaya.
“I told him I want him to take back as many illegal immigrants from the Philippines in Sabah. He agreed to accept them, this can be implemented,” the PM said.
“It’s important to have this agreement. I cannot send them back without it. He has agreed and I am sure he will honour his commitment. This is an understanding at the highest level,” he added.
Najib also said that Malaysia is willing to loan out its naval ships to deport the illegal immigrants if the Philippines did not have enough vessels to take them home.
He said deportation centres in Sabah had exceeded their capacity with more than 7,000 illegal immigrants inside.
“We can start deporting those 7,000 back. When we have more space, then we can fill it up again. We will do this so we can achieve our ambitions of having Sabah for Sabahans,” he said.
Sabah has been plagued by illegal immigrants for over three decades, causing socio-political and economic problems for the state.
Najib set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry on the issues in 2013 and two high level committees were formed as a result of the report.
However, many parties, including within the government lamented the delay in resolving the problem of the illegals.
Source : JULIA CHAN@The Malay Mail Online