KOTA KINABALU: The deportation process of almost 7,000 illegal immigrants who are currently being held at four temporary detention centres in the state, which have been on hold due to the suspension of the Sandakan-Zamboanga ferry service, is expected to resume soon.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pix) said he had made a request to the Ministry of Transport to allow the state government to use non-specific boats in the sending back of the illegal immigrants to their countries of origin.
“Under international agreements, we have to use specific boats which meet certain requirements to undertake the deportation exercise, but we have requested to the Ministry of Transport to be given leeway as we don’t have such a boat.
“Now we are waiting for a response from Transport Minister Anthony Loke,” he said during a question and answer session at the state legislative assembly, here today.
He said that in a reply to a supplementary question from Datuk Bolkiah (Warisan-Pitas) who wanted to know if the suspension of the ferry service has disrupted the sending home of the illegal immigrants. - Bernama