Selangor Journal

Death of Indonesian detainees in Sabah Immigration depots due to delays in repatriation

JAKARTA, June 30 — The delay in the repatriation of detainees due to travel restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic has been identified as the main cause of deaths of Indonesian detainees at the immigration depots in Sabah, Malaysia, according to the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This was revealed during the virtual meeting with the Sabah State Immigration Department, the Sabah Health Department and the Sovereign Migrant Workers Coalition (KBMB) on Wednesday.

Malaysia and Indonesia introduced strict quarantines, movement controls, border closures and travel bans in 2020, to slow the spread of the Covid-19 infections.

In a statement, the ministry said it learned that 18 Indonesian detainees died at the Immigration Detention Center in Sabah in 2021, and seven others from January to June 2022.

The data also contains detainees’ names and the cause of death based on hospital post-mortem results.

During the meeting, the ministry requested the Malaysian side to speed up the repatriation process of detainees given the relatively low risk posed by the pandemic at present and it stands ready to finance the process.

The Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Kota Kinabalu and the Consulate of the Republic of Indonesia in Tawau plan to increase routine site visits and will provide necessities such as clothing, food, medicines and medical equipment.

The Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia, Hermono, will visit Sabah to help the process as soon as possible, the statement read.

On Wednesday, the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sought clarification from the Sabah State Immigration Department following a report issued by KBMB on the treatment of its citizens at detention depots in Malaysia.

The report claimed that there were deaths and inhumane treatment of Indonesian detainees at the Immigration Detention Depot in Tawau, Sabah. However, the allegations were refuted by Malaysian Immigration Department Director-General Datuk Seri Khairul Dzaimee Daud.

— Bernama

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Editor Selangor Journal