Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Abolish IMM13 document; send back refugees: Ex-MP


Former Pensiangan Member of Parliament, Datuk Bernard S Maraat, has urged the Federal Government to cancel the IMM13 document issued to Filipino refugees in the State. “The document should not be in existence anymore, as the Government has stopped issuing it a long time ago,” he said. Maraat was of the opinion that because of the refugee status, the authorities cannot take action against IMM13 holders. According to him, he had personally brought up the issue in Parliament several times but no action was taken. It should, he said, be the agenda of the Government to take stern action against the 1MM13 holders and send them to their home country because the war there is over. “If they are truly refugees (1MM13 holders), they should be confined to the UNHCR refugee settlement in Kinarut and not allowed to live anywhere in the State or take up employment as they like,” he said. “But unfortunately, the Government has not done anything in the last 30 years to address the problem and the IMM13 holders are still in the State.” “They have married and extended their families, and many of their children born in Sabah are considered stateless,” he said, adding that these people came as refugees in early 1970s but they are still living in Sabah with the IMM13 documents till today. He also stressed that the presence of the IMM13 holders in Sabah has encouraged other illegal immigrants to come to the State and this brought about many social ills. “We have to think about our people and future generations. Where will they be in 20 or 30 years down the line?” he asked.