“I’d Rather Be Arrested In Sabah Than Having My Family Mired In Poverty In Southern Philippines”

by Jaxon S on July 25, 2008

in Borneo Immigration Issue,Sabah Claim

For deported Filipinos, it’s Sabah or bust” says the title of an article in The Philippine Daily Inquirer dated July 24.

It quoted one Basit Nur as saying that being detained at the Ruma Mera “was more bearable than seeing my family mired in poverty” in southern Philippines.

“Shame can’t be eaten. What’s important is a job to sustain one’s family,” he said.


[Filipino illegal immigrants awaiting deportation at the Menggatal detention centre or "rumah merah". Pix courtesy of My Say blog]

Ruma Mera or rumah merah (the red house) refers to the detention centres in Sabah of which rooftops are invariably painted with red.

Outsmarting the police

Malaysian police and other authorities, please take note. The report further said :

Asked if he was planning to return to Sabah, Nur said: “I will. Even if I don’t have the money for the processing of my papers here, I will find other ways to return. And I will make sure that I will outsmart the police there.”

As a father I share his sentiment

No. Not the sentiment about outsmarting the police but rather, the determination to feed the family.

I too, will do anything within my means to feed my family because as the song says, “what is a man, what has he got, if not himself, then he has naught”.

But I will do anything too to protect the livelihood of my family, in my country, from being threatened by another man, who is equally determined to do anything to feed his family, including encroaching into my territory.

So, while I do have sympathy for fathers like Basit, I’ve also accepted the fact that life is never easy. So if Basit is arrested and deported, too bad but that should be the way.

And people like Basit can do themselves a great favour by coming to Sabah properly documented if livelihood is what they are really looking for.

Pin-drop silence in the Philippine press

Stories like this makes for a good read in the Philippine press. But I don’t understand why the silence about taking the Philippine government task for the lack of development in southern Philippines?

Why blame the Malaysian government for deporting Filipinos and not the Philippine government for failing to take care of its own people in the south?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jewelle July 25, 2008 at 11:53 am

This is understandable – what responsible father will not do anything to feed his family.

So instead of trying to create all kind of bad feelings with their ridiculous claims, the supposedly Sulu Sultanate should make it a point to improve livelihood in their land so their people will not need to leave just to find jobs.

mn July 25, 2008 at 2:02 pm

the philippine government fails to confront this problem, the present administration continues to put the claim in the back burner while the malaysians are pushing us to do a stronger action(like breaking diplomatic relations with malaysia) but i think gloria is too afraid to do that.

we need to be united, north borneo(sabah) is ours!

Jaxon S August 5, 2008 at 10:40 am

Jewelle, I agree. But I doubt the sultan will be able to do anything to help his subjects.

mn, yes I agree with you too, about the failure of the govt to confront the problem. I guess, sometime in the future, someone from the south ought to be elected as president.

Rowen April 21, 2009 at 11:55 am

If they were properly documented, they will have no problem here to stay in Sabah but instead, they go undocumented which will have the government sending them back to their own country.

What I don’t understand is that why aren’t the Philippine Government doing anything? Don’t they care for their own people?

I see that only our government tackling this problem where it should be both countries doing so..

I hope illegal immigrants’ problem in sabah (north borneo) to be settle soon by the new PM..

Mi-Mi June 11, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Yes, the Philippine’s government is not acting right. And who’s to blame? Only their government of course.

I understand that the Malaysian Police are just doing there jobs. Departing philippinos is something they need to do for there own counrty. For their people who need jobs.

But is it right to torture immagrants in the jail? Feeding them with pee in their food? Giving them water from the toilet?

I don’t think it’s right and I wish it would stop.
I wish they would stop toturing the immagrants and just letthem depart home.

And honestly, the Malaysian Police has no right to treat a person like that. Not even .01%. The people they torture in those ceils are as equal as a man as they are. Those people in those ceils do things-illiegal or not-just so they can feed there familes, and i bet those polices in that jail do the same, and would do the same for there family.

Torturing? It’s wrong and cruel. And it needs to stop.

But nothing that I say matters, because I too is just a person.

But I do want to ask this.
DO YOU MALAYSIANS GET TORTURED IN PHILIPPINE JAILS LIKE THE WAY YOU TORTURE IMMAGRANTS IN YOUR JAILS?

Answer: No, filipinos have helped me a lot in my life and I thank them for that. No one has ever laid a hand on me in that counrty, and I doubt there will be.

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