Subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on news you need to know.
KOTA KINABALU, March 12 — Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said it will continue to support a programme to help children born in Sabah, who are classified as foreigners despite being born to one local parent.
Denying that the government was giving MyKads to illegal immigrants under the programme, Shafie said the programme was grounded in humanitarian values to give the children a future.
“We will deport children if their parents are both foreigners but if the child was born here, and one of their parents is a Sabahan, we can’t send them to Japan, they can’t even speak Japanese,” he said when met by reporters at Parliament today.
He said that children born under such circumstances also needed to be looked into so that the source of their problem could be identified, such as whether they were born out of wedlock.
“If they are partly Malaysian, we can’t not help them. If tomorrow their father dies, where will the child go? He only knows that his hometown in Sabah and his father is Sabahan.
“But don’t accuse us of all kinds of things when we are trying to help these children,” he said.
Shafie said that tight guidelines will be in place, among them proof that the child was born in Sabah and one of the parents must be a Sabahan.
He had announced the legalisation programme, also called “programme pemutihan” in June last year after a state security council meeting.
During the parliamentary sitting earlier today, deputy home minister Datuk Azis Jamman said that the government’s efforts to help children in this predicament was stunted due to objections from the Opposition.
The Sabah Immigration Department has said foreigners made up a third of the population in Sabah.