Malaysian birth certs, not citizenship, for children of refugees in Sabah

Deputy Home Minister Azis Jamman (seated, left) talks to a haj pilgrim at KLIA.

SEPANG: Children of Filipino refugees who hold the IMM13 pass are not considered Malaysians although they have been issued birth certificates, said Deputy Home Minister Aziz Jamman.

“If they are born in Sabah, they are given birth certificates, but this does not make them citizens,” he said when asked about the status of children of IMM13 holders.

IMM13 is a visit pass issued by the Immigration Department to Filipino refugees who escaped to Sabah following unrest in southern Philippines in the early 1970s.

IMM13 holders are allowed to stay in Sabah and Labuan, as well as seek employment, attend school and get medical services from the government.

In October last year, the Sabah Immigration Department suspended a programme to accept new applications for IMM13 from children of other IMM13 holders.

In 2014, the Sabah National Registration Department said birth certificates were issued to foreign children born in Sabah for record purposes and to monitor their presence, but they were not considered citizens.

The department had also said that these children would be issued the red birth certificate.

Azis today said a workshop to be participated in by the Sabah government, Putrajaya and NGOs would be held to discuss in depth the status of children of IMM13 cardholders.

“Sabah has a lot of documents like IMM13 and Sijil Burung-Burung (state-issued documents). So we want to see how to manage all these documents.”