All refugees in Sabah are actually illegal immigrants too because Malaysia is neither a party to the United Nations Convention on the status of the refugees in 1951 nor the Protocol 1967, according to Suhakam.
Its Vice-Chairman Tan Sri Simon Sipaun made the assertion when commenting on the recent report in a local daily about the displaced Indonesians who number 12,000 and Filipinos who number 81,000, who were given the IMM13 card that allows them to live and work in Sabah in 1965, 1970s and 1985 until today.
"I understand the IMM13 cards were issued in Sabah, but why? The Government started to issue them to the Rohingyas in Peninsular but quickly aborted it. Why the double standard?" he asked.
"It's a national problem and IMM13 cards were issued by the Federal Government. Why are the refugees confined to Sabah?" he asked, referring to the IMM13 condition that the refugees could only be allowed to earn their living and reside in Sabah, and not Peninsular Malaysia.
"The Vietnamese refugees were all gone after two years. How come that in Sabah, the refugees are still here?"
Currently, the majority of the foreigners with refugee status have been living in Sabah for over 35 years, and there is no limit to the length of their stay, while their of their stay, while their children or teenagers are allowed to attend both primary and secondary schools in the State.