101 East
Stateless in Sabah
A look at how the Malaysian government is clamping down on foreign migration.
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2009 11:57 GMT

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The Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo Island has long been known as a land of promise.

Its proximity to Indonesia and the southern Philippines and its rich natural resources, have combined to make Sabah a magnet for migrants in the region.

Today, some estimate that nearly half of Sabah's population is made up of foreigners who are fleeing conflict or seeking employment. 

Sabah also has a large population of stateless children. Born in Malaysia to migrant parents, they are neither recognised by Malaysia, nor the country their parents originated from.

Over the years Malaysia has carried out several major evictions of undocumented migrants and stateless people.

Now, the Malaysian government has started a new major crackdown with thousands being arrested and deported across Sabah. 

However, critics say the policy is short-sighted and will not stop the influx of foreign migrants arriving on Malaysia's shores.

This episode of 101 East aired from Thursday, August 21, 2008.

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