Detained Filipino toddlers to be released, deported on Wednesday

The two Filipino toddlers at a children’s playground at the Bukit Jalil Immigration Detention Centre. (Immigration Department pic.)

PETALING JAYA: The two undocumented Filipino toddlers being held at the Bukit Jalil Immigration Detention Centre will be released and deported on Wednesday, Immigration Department Director-General Khairul Dzaimee Daud said.

He said their mothers and a representative from the Philippine embassy will be present at the detention centre.

Tenaganita executive director Glorene Das, who had earlier expressed concern over the detention of the toddlers, said she has also received word from Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh about their release.

In a statement, Khairul also clarified that basic facilities are provided for children who are detained at the centre, following Glorene’s allegation that the two toddlers – both under the age of two – had been held in “less than hospitable conditions” for the past 20 days.

He said pregnant mothers and children are placed in different rooms from regular detainees.

“Access to a children’s playground and other needs is also provided to make sure they are comfortable while waiting to be sent back,” he said.

Earlier today, Glorene had alleged that the toddlers were detained during an immigration raid in Kajang on June 14. She said their mothers, who have valid visas, were not at home at the time.

Their mothers were subsequently informed by immigration authorities the toddlers could be sent back to the Philippines if they have travel documents issued by the embassy, she said.

She said the embassy is ready to provide the travel documents once the deportation papers for the babies have been received from the Immigration Department.

Glorene said the continued detention of the toddlers violates the Child Act 2001 and the “spirit” of the Convention On The Rights of the Child to which Malaysia is a party.