1,455 stateless kids at shelter – dept

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Welfare Department is assisting the Federal Special Task Force (FSTF) in looking after the welfare of stateless children that are housed at its Rumah Pelindungan Ehsan, according to the department’s Children’s Department Unit assistant director Mohd Azan Hussin.

He said the Welfare Department has 1,455 children between the ages of six and 18 being housed at the temporary facility now.

They comprise 1,119 males and 336 females, he told the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the presence of illegal immigrants yesterday, adding that 641 of these children were of Suluk descent, 556 of Bajau descent and the rest are of other nationalities including Tator, Butun, Kagayan and Pakistani.

Those aged between 15 and 18 made up the highest number of 902 staying at the FSTF’s welfare protection home, he said, adding that 205 of them are aged between six and 12, while the remaining 348 are 13 and 14-year-olds.

Mohd Azan said these children are categorized as stateless because they were not able to produce any identification documents when they were picked up by enforcement agencies.

“There are two categories of stateless children, those who have parents but are loitering and living in public areas and those who do not have parents or guardians and are loitering as well as living in public areas,” he said.

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