A better life that never was for young Solma from Jolo
Three years ago, Solma Kalimudin thought the best way to lead a better life was to leave home and start anew elsewhere. Seeing the greener pasture at neighbouring Sabah, the then 13-year-old took the risk and decided to leave Job, The Philippines, with a cousin, hoping that it would change her life for good. Grabbing just some essential items and clothing, the young teenager took her chance and entered the State through the back door, and had been working as a sundry shop assistant in Kinarut until recently. “I was arrested in May during an operation for not having valid documents,” said Solma, a Suluk. After serving her jail sentence, the now 16-year-old counted her days at the Menggatal Temporary Detention Centre. “I have been detained here for one month and 16 days ... finally I will be reunited with my family back home. I have, after all, been living in fear the last three years as I do not possess any valid document, so Jam excited to go home,” said the youngest of five siblings when met at the Centre yesterday. In fact, Solma was among the 250 Filipinos, comprising 140 men and 110 women, of whom 60 are children, deported to their country of origin yesterday. They would spend eight hours on board the 44-seater, buses from the State Capital to Sandakan, before resuming an 18-hour journey by sea to Zamboanga. Another detainee sent home was Noramin Anslim @ Tikboy, who was referred by the enforcement officers as the ‘penghulu’ (chief) for the Filipino group. The 34-year-old from Tawi-Tawi was deported along with his wife and two daughters, aged 18 months and seven years old. Noramin admitted having entered the State illegally five times since 1992. “I first entered Sabah through Semporna 16 years ago. I was arrested and deported to The Philippines but had to return as there were better opportunities over here (Sabah). “My last arrest was in December last year at Karamunsing after being here for just a few - months. I served my jail sentence, whippedand today (yesterday) deported again to The - Philippines. “The whipping had really thought me a great lesson; I might return to Sabah again but of course, this time, with proper documents,” said Noramin. After distributing identification documents from the Philippine Embassy to each detainee, the Federal Special Task Force Assistant Director, Major Mohd Rizam Ayob, made the last call: “For those who think he or she is a Malaysian citizen, please raise up your hands and stand up.” Two men stood up and were brought to the - front. Nasir Dubit, 24, claimed that he was born in Keningau and possesses a birth certificate, while Sabdullah Rukah, 20, told L the Immigration Depaitment officers that he — carries the 1MM 13 document and was born at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. “Both claims were however rejected and the decision stayed. The two will be deported along with the others. There are several reasons to reject their claims, one is that they fail to produce any support documents to show the authenticity of their citizenship or secondly, they had committed an offence during their stay here,” explained Mohd Rizam. As the detainees boarded the six buses, their family members who had been standing outside the Centre gates since 8am waited patiently, with hope to say their — goodbyes.