KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 — The Home Ministry has today revealed that six kids, all male, were among 298 detainees who have died in Immigration Department’s depots nationwide.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin told the Parliament that among those, 34 of them were women, and the majority of the total deaths at 154 involved Indonesian and Philippines nationals.

“For the period 2020 to July 12, 2022, there were 298 deaths involving 258 male detainees, 34 female detainees and six male child detainees.

“Of that number, 154 people were Indonesian and Filipino detainees who died at the Sabah State Immigration depot for the period 2020 until July 12, 2022,” he said in a parliamentary reply to Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng.

He also said that as of July 12, there were 17,703 undocumented migrants detained at all depots nationwide comprising 12,722 men, 3,217 women, 996 boys and 768 girls.

“Filipinos were the most numerous detainees at 7,022 people (39.67 per cent), followed by Indonesians at 4,625 people (26.13 per cent) and Myanmar citizens at 1,390 people (7.85 per cent).

He added that the latest number of undocumented migrants detained in four Sabah depots is 7,369, covering 5,478 men, 1,129 women, 447 boys and 315 girls.

He said the government has pledged to improve the deportation process to avoid issues like overcrowding, especially in Sabah depots.

Last month, Hamzah faced backlash after he downplayed deaths in Sabah detention centres, following reports that 150 Indonesians have died there since 2021.

He reportedly said that the deaths were unfortunate and inevitable, citing that anyone can die anywhere and at any time.