October 10, 2023
KUALA LUMPUR – The Home Ministry has requested an allocation under Budget 2024 to set up three more temporary shelters to house children detained by the Immigration Department during operations against illegals, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution.
The Home Ministry said that the proposal comes after the recent opening of a temporary settlement in Nilai known as Baitul Mahabbah to house 18 guardians and 38 children, including a days-old baby.
“I hope that when the Budget is debated, lawmakers will support the allocation request for three more shelters.
“One will be set up in the peninsula, one in Sabah and one in Sarawak,” he said during his ministerial explanation on prison and detention reforms in Dewan Rakyat on Monday (Oct 9).
At present, he said that there are 19 Immigration depots nationwide housing about 12,000 detainees, of which 1,400 are children.
He acknowledged that Immigration depots were not a conducive environment for teens and that the Baitul Mahabbah programme was a more humane way of dealing with child detainees.
Saifuddin said the children were among illegal immigrants temporarily detained in depots while awaiting necessary travel documents from their respective embassies before being sent back to their countries.
On Feb 3, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) expressed concern over the fate of the children among those detained during a recent raid at an illegal settlement in Nilai, Negri Sembilan.