Policy Writer Consultant – Study on Undocumented Persons in Sabah

Localidad : Putrajaya, Malasia
Fecha límite de postulación :04-Dec-20 (Medianoche Nueva York, Estados Unidos)
Tipo de contrato :Individual Contract
Nivel de puesto :International Consultant
Idiomas requeridos :
Fecha de comienzo del contrato :
(Fecha en que se espera que comience el candidato seleccionado)
Duración del contrato inicial :A maximum of 40 days
Duración esperada del puesto :Between December 2020 and February 2021.

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One of the key principles of the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to leave no one behind and to reach those furthest behind first. This project is therefore, aimed at better understanding the profile and issues faced by the significant number of people living in Sabah today, who do not have documentation and lack access to basic services such as health and education, and to make recommendations to address this complex issue and in this way, accelerate Malaysia’s attainment of the SDGs.  

Poverty reduction strategies in Sabah have met with success, having been a significant recipient of investments in infrastructure and social interventions over the years. The incidence of poverty in Sabah reduced from 23.4% in 1999 to 4% in 2014, and 2.9% in 2017 (DOSM (October 2017). Report of Household Income and Basic Amenities Survey 2016. https://www.dosm.gov.my/v1/index.php?r=column/pdfPrev&id=RUZ5REwveU1ra1hGL21JWVlPRmU2Zz09).  Despite this achievement, Sabah remains the state with the highest level of poverty in Malaysia.


Over the last 40 years, the population of Sabah has increased from 698,000 in 1970 to 3.2 million in 2010 (Economic Planning Unit. Official Website of Economic Planning Unit, Prime Minister’s Department. Available from http://www.epu.gov.my/en/content/12-bilangan-penduduk-mengikut-negeri. Accessed 10th October, 2017.). Interestingly, the greatest increase seems to have occurred between the years of 1970 and 1990, roughly coinciding with the period of armed conflict in the Southern Philippines and the arrival of refugee and migrant populations. In the last 20-year period alone, the population of Sabah increased from 698,000 to 1.79 million people.

According to census estimates, indigenous groups currently comprise 61.2% of the total population of Sabah, while migrant workers total 889,779 people, or 27.7% of the population.

In relation to education, it is estimated that only 2% of undocumented children have access to the few alternative learning centres established by NGOs and run by the community themselves. Even if schooling is provided, it is often only until Year Six. Many undocumented minors who are unable to access educational services have been described as surviving as street children, who grow up illiterate. Access to public healthcare e.g. immunizations and sexual and reproductive health services for the undocumented are also limited (http://www.ums.edu.my/fpsk/images/Journal/J.2016/2.9.pdf) . This vulnerable population also faces the threat of detention and deportation back to their country of origin. And when deported, it apparently does not take long before they to return to Sabah. Detainees in immigration centres in Sabah are currently estimated at 3,200 people. (Geraldine A. (21 September 2017). Immigration Dept carries out 1,003 operations, nabs 13,601 illegals nationwide since Jan. News Straits Times. Retrieved from https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2017/09/282452/immigration-dept-carries-out-1003-operations-nabs-13601-illegals)

In the thriving economy of Sabah, there are work opportunities in the informal sectors (mainly in construction and plantation sector) and hence, undocumented immigrants can generally find work, though work is scarce on the East Coast, which has not seen as much economic development. However, undocumented populations from the Southern Philippines seem to remain a shadow society, living in parallel to the formal institutions, with no access to state services as a social safety net against extreme vulnerability.

The situation is compounded by the negative stereotypes associated with the immigrant population who are blamed for the rise in crime rate, for taking away jobs from locals and for environmental pollution. A whole generation of hundreds of thousands of uneducated children with only unskilled work opportunities in the future will only exacerbate the situation.

With no access to education, health and formal employment, these communities continue to live in the shadow economy, with the most marginalised of these undocumented groups only becoming more vulnerable and excluded. The 2013 incursion in Lahad Datu and clashes with the security forces adds a security dimension to the problem. And with the reported strengthening of the Abu Sayyaf group in Southern Philippines, these areas are under threat of potential influence by militant and armed groups with extreme ideologies/terrorist activities.


Despite significantly lacking information and data on undocumented persons and communities in Sabah, the Government of Malaysia recognizes the opportunities from the contributions of these 

populations to the economic growth of Malaysia. A significant proportion of the undocumented population could also be indigenous peoples of Sabah. In view of this, United Nations Country Team

(UNCT) has obtained the approval of the Sabah Government in July 2018 to conduct a joint mapping and profiling study on the socio-economic status of undocumented persons and communities in Sabah, together with the federal and state authorities. This study is expected to provide the necessary data and evidence-base for decision making and foundation for recommendations and policy planning through consultations with relevant stakeholders, especially with the affected and vulnerable populations themselves and a consulting team from the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) has been appointed to undertake the Study.


Focus Population

The 2010 Malaysian Population and Housing Census summarises the demographic characteristics of Sabah as being comprised of 61.3% Bumiputera (consisting of 5.7% Malays, 17.8% Kadazan/Dusun, 14% Bajau, 3.2% Murut, and 20.6% of other Bumiputera including Suluk population) and 27.7% non-citizens. The Chinese, Indians and other non-Bumiputera population are estimated at 11%. However, data gaps remain because while the census has captured those who are non-citizens, it does not expressly state whether people responding to the survey and who self-identify as Bumiputera, actually have the necessary documentation to confirm their status. The current census data does not seem to be able to quantify the number of undocumented persons, and other means are utilized to estimate this marginalised group.

There are four distinct groups of people in Sabah, who could be associated as undocumented persons that could be grouped as follows, but which this Study would need to analyse and profile more accurately:

  1. Citizens who are undocumented e.g. indigenous Sabahans who are considered citizens by definition in the Federal Constitution but who lack documentary evidence for their claim to citizenship. Due to their remote location, they face challenges in accessing services. However, once in contact with authorities, it is technically possible for them to register. The government has experimented with mobile registration units to further assist these populations. However, there continue to be challenges in proving birth circumstances or ancestry, particularly for families that have remained undocumented over generations.
  2. Former Filipino refugees and migrants from the Southern Philippines who entered Sabah and Labuan in two waves. The first coinciding with the conflict in Mindanao between 1972 and 1984, and more recently, economic migrants. The precise number of Southern Filipino refugees and migrants currently inhabiting Sabah is unknown, although some estimates assume at least 80,000 people who have settled here over the last 40 years. The entry of Filipino refugees in the 1970s was followed by an accelerated inflow of “irregular” economic migrants since the 1980s. Permission to stay for the refugees was originally granted on humanitarian grounds in the form of the IMM13 visa, which is renewable on a yearly basis. This group is among the most populous and carry with them specific challenges such as in obtaining valid work or residency permits. UNHCR had provided assistance to help manage the refugee population between 1976 and 1987.
  3. The Bajau Laut, who live a nomadic life at sea as subsistence fishermen, and lack the necessary documentation to proof their citizenship status due to their high mobility. They speak a distinct dialect and are easily distinguished from the other groups. Referred to as “nomads of the sea”, they are discriminated by mainland populations across the archipelago, including in Sabah and the Southern Philippines. Due to this and their nomadic lifestyle, they are a vulnerable undocumented / at risk of stateless population but data concerning their numbers remain a broad estimate ranging from 40,000 people to a few hundred thousand. 
  4. Others who are undocumented such as those who do not have proper birth registration, including children of migrant workers. While birth registration in Malaysia is not dependent on nationality of either parent, children of migrants hailing from Indonesia or the Philippines may be undocumented. All children irrespective of the nationality of parents, if born in Malaysia can be registered and would obtain Malaysian nationality based on the law (Births and Deaths Registration Act), on the condition that the parents are married and at least one parent is Malaysian. If the parents are unmarried, then based on the current interpretation of the law, the child will inherit Malaysian citizenship only if the mother is Malaysian. 


Objectives of the Project

The objectives of this project, to be jointly undertaken by the UNCT and the Malaysian Government, is to conduct a scoping and mapping study (hereinafter referred to as “Study”) to:

1)    Understand the scale of issues and assess the risks of economic and social cost of inaction, including through foresighting exercises.

2) Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the socio-economic parameters of the undocumented persons in Sabah through a combination of qualitative and quantitative efforts to provide a basis for policy and decision making to address the issue from a human development view in line with international standards and the leaving no one behind lens of the SDGs.

3) Identify and more accurately define the profiles of the communities and individuals and their interlinkages with broader socio-economic and development issues in the state.

4)  Profile the undocumented population in terms of livelihoods, access to basic services, patriarchal structures, law enforcement within the communities, external influences, stigmas and other pertinent issues;

5)  Develop sufficient data and evidence-base by compiling existing data and literature on the subject matter as well as through appropriate and innovative data collection and analysis, efficient data collection methodology (including through innovative means, surveys, big data analytics); determining data parameters, availability and sources; and develop recommendations to strengthen census of the undocumented population;

6) Identify the challenges, bottlenecks and root causes as well as possible solutions including by alternative service providers  in consultation with the relevant agencies and departments of government at the state and federal levels; through assessment of available literature on the matter, and through workshops and dialogues utilizing innovative ideation, system design and other appropriate tools;

  7) Develop a set of recommendations to address the issues relating to the undocumented population, including administrative and other barriers and issues faced by these vulnerable groups; analyze the cost of inaction, loss of development opportunities, and long-term risks using foresighting and othertools - in line with the goals and targets of the Agenda 2030 and SDGs, taking into account international standards ad best practices of other countries.


It is however envisaged that the objectives may be further refined after more in-depth discussions with Government and the UNCT. Throughout the period of conducting research and after findings and data have gathered, engage in discussions with Government, the UNCT and other stakeholders on the next steps, including any recommendations or potential plans of action or solutions for the beneficiary population.

Deberes y responsabilidades



The Consultant is expected to deliver in accordance to the Objectives of the study as follows:

  • To undertake the project’s final report writing based on the findings of mapping and profiling of the undocumented and stateless study in Sabah and draft report already developed by the UMS Study Team. The aim of this consultancy is to therefore, further refine the report towards ensuring a high-quality output with strategic recommendations.
  • Based on the data collated for the undocumented study by the research team, to review, analyse and draft policy recommendations for the Sabah State government and the Federal Government.
  • Collate and consolidate inputs coming from the PMT, UNCT and other relevant stakeholders for incorporation into the report.
  • Participate in meetings and consultations with the Study Team, Project Management Team (PMT), UNCT, International Expert Group (IEG) and other stakeholders as and when required.
  • This will include discussions, editing and proofreading of all materials, reports, presentations and documents produced by the Study Team and IEG before they are submitted to the UNCT and other experts for feedback, consolidation of inputs received for further refinement; and ensuring only highest quality reports, presentations and other materials are submitted and/or presented to Government,  not limited to the criteria mentioned above.
  • Develop recommendations in consultation with the UNCT and other experts (IEG) to be included in the draft and final reports of this Study, which will include a specific set of recommendations on the highly sensitive documentation issue of this vulnerable group that will be developed in strictest confidentiality and in parallel to the study and report(s) to be produced by the UMS Study Team .
  • Consult and closely engage with the relevant government agencies and ministries, UN agencies, and other relevant stakeholders in ensuring the objectives of the UNCT and the Sabah state are achieved.
  • Make references to and cross-checking against past reports of studies on stateless and undocumented communities if any by UNHCR, UNICEF, UNFPA, IOM, SUHAKAM and other civil society organisations, academics/experts and stakeholders in Malaysia.




Under the supervision of the Focal Point of UNCT and the PMT, the consultant will be responsible to provide expert advice this project as well as review and improve on the methodology, reports, presentations, proposed pilot programme and  surveys done by the UMS research team under this Project; and liaise and present when required to the IEG and the UNCT.


List of expected outputs.


  1. Improved final report based on the data and writeup from the UMS Research Team, input from other stakeholders, UN Country Team, state and local agencies.
  2. Inclusion of impact of COVID-19 on the undocumented and stateless communities in Sabah
  3. To participate in multi-stakeholder consultations and workshops as required.
  4.  Identifying the bottlenecks, issues challenges, political sensitivities and making recommendations with specific reference / considerations to policy, legal and regulatory reform and/or implementation including those related to cost and risks of inaction and potential loss of development dividends.

Note: The Consultant is expected to attend meetings (including Project Management Team meetings via Skype or other means) and present the findings of the Study, as and when required.


With the expert work of the Consultant, this Study conducted by the UMS Study Team on behalf of the UNCT is expected:

1. To be of high quality and factually correct:

  • To provide comprehensive and independent reviews of the issues and situation in Sabah vis-à-vis undocumented persons
  • To offer constructive and innovative policy recommendations for the Sabah State Government


2. To be consistent with UN standards in terms of:

  • Ensure consistency and logical linkages with the SDGs
  • Contribute to the proper structuring of general conclusions and recommendations
  • Participate in team discussions and brainstorming sessions to contribute to the methodological approach and the final structuring of the Study Paper


3. To be reliable in its findings:

  • To employ truthful and relevant data
  • To make available the list of references and data used in preparing the required analysis
  • To participate in the presentation and other follow-up engagements to present the findings of the Study Paper at engagements with relevant Government and other stakeholders.  



The Consultant will work under supervision of the Focal Person of UNCT and National Programme Manager. S/he will work in close collaboration with other staff of the UN System in Malaysia as needed.



  1. All data provided in the project will be used only for the purpose of the research. The Consultant will treat in strictest confidence all of the reports, data and any material or any part of this Study and shall not use any document, material and/or data provided for purposes other than the identified scope of work above.
  2. The Consultant is not be allowed to share with any external party or produce any publications relating to the work undertaken above.




Deliverables / Milestones

Percentage %

Expected Timeline

Submission and acceptance of the Consultant’s workplan incorporating the scope of this consultancy.


December 2020

Acceptance of the first draft of the improved report and policy recommendations based on the report and mapping done by the UMS Study Team.


January 2021

Acceptance of the final draft of the report and policy recommendations.


February 2021















Note: Further discussion on the deliverables/milestone will be made during the inception phase.

*Consultant here refers to the Consultant engaged as per this Terms of Reference.



Corporate Competencies:

  • Demonstrates integrity by modelling the UN’s values and ethical standards
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP, and partner organizations
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability


Functional Competencies:

  • Excellent knowledge of relevant stateless and undocumented issues in the context of Malaysia
  • Demonstrates strong analytical skills
  • Promotes team work and contributes towards building team consensus,
  • Builds positive relationships with clients
  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude
  • Excellent teamwork and leadership skills


Development and Operational Effectiveness

  • Ability to analyse and understand stateless and undocumented issues from the policy, legal and regulatory perspectives
  • Ability to apply organisational policies and procedures
  • Strong analytical skills


Management and Leadership

  • Focuses on impact and result for the project and respond positively to feedback
  • Supports teams effectively and shows conflict resolution skills
  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude
  • Demonstrates strong oral and written communication skills
  • Builds strong relationships with clients and external actors
  • Remains calm, in control and good humoured even under pressure
  • Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities

Habilidades y experiencia requeridas


  • Masters / Post graduate degree with at least 7 years of working experience in the area of development economics, social development, human sciences, poverty reduction, sociology, public policy or related fields or;
  • Bachelor’s degree with at least 10 years working experience in the area of development economics, social development, human sciences, poverty reduction, sociology, public policy or related fields



  • Having worked or have in depth experience with the Sabah State Government and local researchers or academia in Sabah on development related issues
  • Minimum 5 years of working / research experience in migrant/undocumented/stateless issues, inclusive development, or related fields as well as the ability to bring global best practices in areas related to this Study.
  • A proven track record in providing high-quality, development-relevant analysis and policy advice in areas such as integration, documentation, poverty eradications programmes and reducing vertical or horizontal inequalities, preferably relevant to the following fields:
    1. Stateless and undocumented, refugee and migrant issues
    2. Developmental Economics / Inclusive development
    3. Social Welfare and Social Development
    4. Politics and Public Policy
    5. Human Sciences
  • Experience in Malaysia and prior experience in the Asia-Pacific region or in countries of similar level of development.
  • Familiarity with the SDG agenda and localisation process.
  • Respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and the UNDP Statement of Purpose.


Language requirements

  • Excellent command of English in both oral and written communication skills. Ability to communicate in Bahasa Malaysia would be an added advantage.




Interested individual applicants must submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their qualifications:

  1. Document 1 : Letter of Confirmation of Interest and Availability at        http://www.my.undp.org/content/dam/malaysia/docs/Procurement/Letter%20of%20Interest%20_Annex%201.docx?download;
  2. Document 2: Cover page (max. 2 pages) how candidate’s qualification and experience in research makes them suitable for the work and can lead towards the successful deliverable of the objectives of this consultancy within the required timeframe.
  3. Document 3: Technical Proposal, Provide a brief methodology on how they will approach and conduct the work (if applicable) with emphasis on the proposal on scope of work, deliverable(s) and knowledge transfer;
  4. Document 4: Personal CV / P11 including areas of expertise and past experiences in similar area of work and at least 3 referees at http://www.my.undp.org/content/dam/malaysia/docs/Procurement/P11%20for%20SC%20&%20IC.doc?download 
  5. Document 5: Financial Proposal (at http://www.my.undp.org/content/dam/malaysia/docs/Procurement/Financial Proposal- Policy Writer Sabah.docx)  all inclusive and takes into account various expenses the candidate expects to incur during the contract, including:
    • The daily professional fee;
    • The cost of travel from the home base to the duty station (UNDP Office, Putrajaya) and vice versa;
    • Communications, utilities and consumables; and
    • Life, health and any other insurance.
  6. Please submit this information in one file as Document 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Kindly note that the system will only accept one attachment , please merge all documents and submit as one file.
  7. Candidates who fail to submit all the information requested above will be disqualified.


How to Apply:

  • Kindly download the Letter of Confirmation of interest and availability, Financial Proposal Template and General Terms & Conditions mentioned below;
  • Read and agree to the General Terms & Conditions;
  • Click the ‘apply’ icon and complete what is required;
  • Scan all documents into 1 pdf folder and then upload;
  • For clarification question, please email to procurement.my@undp.org. The clarification question deadline is three (3) days before the closing. When emailing for clarification questions, please put "MyIC/2020/074" as the subject matter.


General terms & conditions to be downloaded:

           Reimbursable Loan Agreement (RLA): A legal instrument between UNDP and a Company/institution, according to which, the latter     makes available the services of an individual delivering time-bound and quantifiable outputs that are directly linked to payments




The candidate will be evaluated based on the methodology of Cumulative Analysis.


The award of the contract will be made by UNDP to the candidate whose offer has been evaluated and determined as responsive, compliant and acceptable, and having received the highest score out of a pre-determined set of weighted technical and financial criteria specific to the solicitation:


a)         Technical criteria weight (70%)

b)         Financial criteria weight (30%)


Only candidates obtaining a minimum of 50 points will be considered for the Financial Evaluation.




Max Point







a) Technical knowledge on the proposed topics

b) Experience in social sciences research

c) Familiarity with the scope of research

Si está experimentando alguna dificultad con la solicitud de empleo en líneam puede ponerse en contacto con: erecruit.helpdesk@undp.org

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