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247 Deaths At Malaysian Immigration Depots From 2021 to July 2022

3,217 women and 1,764 children have been held in immigration depots throughout the country up to July 12 this year.

Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin speaks at a press conference on June 18, 2021. Picture from the Home Ministry's Facebook page.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 – Between 2021 and July 12, 2022, there were 247 deaths involving 217 men, 26 women and four boys at immigration depots throughout the country, according to the Minister of Home Affairs, Hamzah Zainudin.

Out of the total figure, 154 are detainees from Indonesia and the Philippines who died at immigration depots in Sabah.

Hamzah was responding to a question in Parliament by Sungai Buloh MP, Sivarasa Rasiah, who asked if the government will improve conditions at immigration depots following frequent reports about their unsanitary and crowded conditions. 

Sivarasa also brought up reported allegations made last month by Indonesia based NGO, the Sovereign Migrant Workers Coalition, that 149 individuals had died in immigration depots in Sabah during an 18-month period from 2021 to 2022. 

Out of the 17,703 detainees held in immigration depots throughout the country up to July 12 this year, 12, 722 are men, 3,217 are women, 996 are boys and 768 are girls, Hamzah said in a written Dewan Rakyat reply on July 19.

A majority of the detainees at 7,022 (39.67 per cent) are from the Philippines, while detainees from Indonesia comprise 4,625 people (26.13 per cent), and detainees from Myanmar consisted of 1,390 people (7.85 per cent).

At four depots in Sabah, he said to date there are a total of 7,369 detainees comprising 5,478 men, 1,129 women, 447 boys and 315 girls. 

“To ensure that deportation efforts are carried out efficiently and that the issue of overcrowding at immigration depots, especially in Sabah, do not persist,” Hamzah said, “the Home Ministry through the Sabah Immigration Department has implemented the transfer of detainees from high capacity depots to lower capacity depots, intensified efforts to deport undocumented migrants back to their countries, and conduct regular consultations with the Philippine and Indonesian embassies to expedite the repatriation of detainees to their home countries.”

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