Sabah To Submit Recommendations To Move Refugees Placement Schemes

An aerial view of the Kinarut refugee settlement scheme.
An aerial view of the Kinarut refugee settlement scheme. – Internet photo

KOTA KINABALU – The state government will submit recommendations to the federal government through the Main Committee on Management of Foreigners to move the refugees placement schemes in Sabah to other more suitable locations.

Minister of Special Tasks Datuk Teo Chee Kang said at present there are five refugees placement schemes in Telipok, Kinarut, Kampung Bahagia Sandakan, Kampung Selamat Semporna and Kampung Hidayat Tawau.

Teo Chee Kang
Teo Chee Kang

“All five refugee placement schemes are near towns or in industrial development areas. As such the government will take action so that their placements are more suitable,” Teo said when winding up for the Sabah Chief Minister’s Department at the state legislative assembly sitting here Thursday.

Teo said the state government also asked the federal government to forge cooperation with the the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Philippines’ government for their help in implementing the replacement programme for refugees in Sabah.

On the agreement by the Philippines government to accept back its citizens who came to Sabah illegally, he said the state government welcomed its commitment and cooperation in handling these foreigners in Sabah.

“As such the government will continue its collaboration with the Philippines’ Embassy in Kuala Lumpur for their commitment to issue a travel document so that the process of repatriation can be expedited,” he said.

He said continued cooperation with the Philippines government could help address the issue of handling these illegal immigrants in Sabah more effectively and efficiently.

In another development, Teo said in efforts to monitor the activities of Daesh militant group’s activities, the state government through the Sabah Islamic Religious Department has a religious enforcement action plan with the cooperation of the police.