Friday, November 12, 2010

More than 90,000 refugees registered in Malaysia

By LEE YUK PENG

KUALA LUMPUR: As of Sept 1, there were 90,301 refugees from various countries registered with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees(UNHCR) in Kuala Lumpur, Deputy Foreign Minister A. Kohilan Pillay told Parliament Thursday.
He said the Malaysian government had worked with UNHCR to either send the refugees back to their country of origin or relocate them to other countries willing to accept them.
"Until now, a total of 49,082 of them or 68% have been sent to third countries and 32% through the International Organisation for Migration," he told Hamim Samuri (BN-Ledang).
Kohilan said Malaysia was not a party to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugee 1951 and its Protocol 1967.
"Since there is no specific law here for refugees, they are subjected to the Immigration Act and all of them are regarded as illegal immigrants," he said.
The refugees issue was never raised by Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand during bilateral talks with them, he said.
"However, the embassies and high commissions based here would always assist in documentation for refugees to be relocated to other countries," he said.
Kohilan also told M. Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) that the refugees were provided with medical aid and education programmes.