Filipino refugees in Sabah: State responses, public stereotypes and the dilemma over their future

Azizah Kassim

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    14 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Over the past four decades Malaysia has seen a rise in the inflow of foreign nationals. Among them are a substantial number of refugees estimated to be between 57,000 and 70,500 in 2008. The refugees, who are largely from neighbouring countries, are only found in Peninsula Malaysia and the eastern state of Sabah. This paper, which limits itself to Filipino refugees in Sabah examines state administration of the refugees, the various stereotypes accorded to them by the general public and the dilemma of the state over their future. The validity of these stereotypes is tested by looking at their daily lives viz. their family structure and composition, community organisations, economic activities and their interactions with "others" and the state. The negative impact of external constraints on their lives is highlighted, particularly the ambiguous legal status of second and third generation refugees born and bred in Sabah. By presenting the stark realities of their lives, the writer hopes to refute some public misconceptions about them and by doing so help the state overcome its dilemma over the future of the refugees. The paper is based on fieldworks carried out intermittently between 2003 and 2005.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)52-88
    Number of pages37
    JournalSoutheast Asian Studies
    Volume47
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009

    Fingerprint

    refugee
    stereotype
    Malaysia
    family structure
    community organization
    third generation
    neighboring countries
    legal status
    economic activity
    fieldwork
    public
    inflow
    writer
    interaction
    community
    economics

    Keywords

    • Asylum seekers
    • Cross-border migration
    • Ethnic stereotyping
    • Illegal immigrants
    • Irregular migrants
    • Migrant workers
    • Refugees
    • Undocumented children

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Development
    • Political Science and International Relations

    Cite this

    Filipino refugees in Sabah : State responses, public stereotypes and the dilemma over their future. / Kassim, Azizah.

    In: Southeast Asian Studies, Vol. 47, No. 1, 06.2009, p. 52-88.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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