KUALA LUMPUR: Some 300 foreign children under the age of 10 have been placed in three ‘Baitul Mahabbah’ (care centres) managed by the Malaysian Immigration Department.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the centres were located in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan; Papar, Sabah and Miri, Sarawak.

He said the children comprised those born at the immigration depot or abandoned by their respective parents during operations conducted by the Immigration Department.

“For humanitarian reasons, we take care of these children in the depot and segregate them through Baitul Mahabbah centres.

“All of them have the opportunity to attend classes such as learning the alphabet managed by the Immigration Department in a conducive environment,” he said in a press conference after attending an event at the Bukit Jalil Immigration Detention Depot here, last night.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin Nasution said his ministry had received an allocation of RM10 million to renovate suitable premises to increase the number of Baitul Mahabbah in the country.

“The Home Ministry will utilise existing premises to be renovated as new Baitul Mahabbah centres,“ he said.

He said as of March this year, the Immigration Department recorded 13,530 detainees at immigration depots and Baitul Mahabbah nationwide with 9,438 men, 2,696 women, 772 boys and 624 girls.

“Out of the total number of detainees, Indonesians are the most with 3,375 people, followed by Filipinos (3,345), and ethnic Rohingyas (2,653).

“There are 1,988 Myanmar nationals, 719 Bangladeshis, 340 Thais and the rest are from China, India, Vietnam, Nepal, Pakistan and Cambodia,“ he said.

Earlier, Saifuddin Nasution visited the Bukit Jalil Immigration Depot to monitor comfort aspects and ensure detainees are treated humanely.

Also present were Immigration Director-General Datuk Ruslin Jusoh and Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay.