Filipino deportees beaten by police
Oct 4, 08 3:30pm (Malaysiakini)
Illegal Filipino workers expelled from Malaysia's Sabah state have been severely beaten by police, a fact-finding body said Saturday.
Thousands of Filipinos, including women and children, remained in Malaysian detention centres "and suffering from inhumane conditions," said Luzviminda Ilagan, a member of the Philippines House of Representatives and of the Fact-Finding Committee on Sabah Deportees.
"Filipino detainees and those who were already deported to the Philippines have experienced severe beatings from Malaysian police while under detention," she told reporters in the southern port city of Zamboanga which serves as the transit point for deported Filipinos.
Ilagan urged the government to provide the deportees with aid to ensure they would not return as illegals to Sabah.
Sabah a magnet for immigrants
She also pushed for a House-level inquiry into the alleged abuses by Malaysian police. Malaysia announced a fresh crackdown on illegals early this year and thousands of Filipinos have been deported since.
The committee, composed of the Association for the Rights of Children in South East Asia, Migrante International, and Gabriela Women's Party, was formed to investigate alleged human rights abuses against undocumented Filipino workers and immigrants in Sabah.
The state, which lies between the Philippines to the north and Indonesia's Kalimantan to the south, is a magnet for immigrants who work on construction sites and oil palm plantations.
Malaysian authorities say 130,000 illegal migrants are in Sabah but local politicians put the figure as high as 500,000.
According to the Philippine government, an estimated 200,000 Filipinos are living and working in Malaysia without valid visas and nearly 3,000 are in jail waiting to be deported.