Saturday, February 28, 2015

UNHCR urged to hasten refugee migration process

GEORGE TOWN: Putrajaya has urged the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to expedite the process of refugees in Malaysia migrating to other countries.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the ministry has raised the matter with the agency repeatedly.

He said he has participated in two discussions on the matter and had urged that the process be within a three-month time frame.

"I have asked them (UNHCR) to manage those who have been classified as refugees to be migrated to other countries," he told a press conference today after a working visit to the Penang police headquarters.

Wan Junaidi also called upon nations who recognise the status of refugees to walk the talk and not "pilih kasih" (favour one over another).

He said those countries, especially in the west, should accept refugees and not pick and choose only the highly-educated or professionally-trained ones.

"Accept those who have been recognised by UNHCR as refugees and not burden Malaysia," he said, pointing out that the country is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Wan Junaidi said this meant such persons are not recognised by Malaysia as refugees and are allowed to enter the country solely on humanitarian grounds.

He said the country now houses some 150,000 refugees, the majority of which are from Myanmar.

"This places a strain on Malaysia," he said and urged those already here not to take advantage of the kindness accorded to them.

Earlier, Wan Junaidi praised the Penang police contingent for having the highest prosecution rate in Malaysia, at 54.29%, which is higher than Interpol's benchmark of 26% and the National Key Result Area (NKRA) of 35%.

He said police here also recorded 56.9% achievement in completing investigations, which places the state contingent in the Malaysian top three.

Wan Junaidi attributed the success to enhanced intelligence-gathering and the heightened capability of the force.