In the Know: Filipinos in Sabah


02:58 AM March 5th, 2013

March 5th, 2013 02:58 AM

MANILA, Philippines—According to the latest figures from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, there are nearly 570,000 Filipinos in Malaysia as of 2011, including some 447,000 who are “not properly documented or without valid residence or work permits.”

On Sunday, nearly 300 undocumented Filipinos arrived in Zamboanga City from Sabah after they were deported.

Last year, more than 7,500 Filipinos were deported, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Western Mindanao Processing Center for Displaced Persons. Most of those deported were men working in oil palm plantations in Malaysia. Some 160 children of illegal workers in Sabah were also deported in the last quarter of 2012.

In January this year, a Royal Commission Inquiry on illegal immigrants said more than 446,000 immigrants have been deported from Sabah since 1990, according to an article posted on the Malaysian Insider website. A 2007 census showed some 60,000 Filipino refugees in Kota Kinabalu, the same article said.

The same article also quoted an official of the Office of Internal Affairs and Research in the Chief Minister’s Department saying there were more than 33,000 Filipino refugees without documents in Sabah in 2010.

In a January 2009 release, the Philippine Bureau of Immigration said some 5,000 Filipino deportees had already returned to the country as a result of Malaysia’s continuing crackdown against illegal foreign workers. At the time, officials estimated there were about 3,000 Filipinos detained in Sandakan and awaiting deportation.

Source: Inquirer Archives,,,

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