KOTA KINABALU, Nov 24 ― The Sabah government will consider the Philippines' request to build a hospital and school here for its citizens living in the state.
Sabah Special Tasks Minister Datuk Teo Chee Kang said the administration acknowledged Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte’s wish to provide education and health services for his citizens in Sabah, but noted that there was no decision on the matter yet.
“The state government have yet to come to an agreement on the issue. We have yet to make a stand on whether they can build their own hospital or school here. I believe we will be discussing this at the state Cabinet meeting soon,” he said.
Teo said this in at the state assembly today in answer to Tamparuli assemblyman Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing who asked for the government’s stand on Duterte’s statement after his visit to Kuala Lumpur recently.
Duterte had told Philippines media of his proposal to build a school and hospital for Filipino migrants in Malaysia and that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had agreed to it during their talks.
Duterte said that he wanted to extend Philippine government services to Filipino migrants in Malaysia, by putting up schools and a hospital with the help of a neutral agency like the World Health Organization.
There are hundreds of thousands of Filipinos living in Sabah, of varying status. Many locals see them as illegal immigrants who consume government services like healthcare and public infrastructure, although many migrated here decades ago and have been earning their living under the radar.
Earlier in his winding up speech, Teo said that he was grateful for Duterte’s agreement to accept the many Filipinos under temporary detention here waiting to be deported.
He said the verbal agreement meant that the Philippine embassy in Kuala Lumpur could process travel documents for the immigrants to be deported back immediately.