KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 (Bernama) -- Malaysia wants the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to expedite the resettlement process of refugees in Malaysia, especially from Myanmar, to other countries.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim said speeding up the process of the migration to other countries was necessary since their presence has raised a number of social, economic and security problems that has threatened the peace and harmony.
"We have also urged UNHCR to review the status and eligibility of the UNHCR card holders since some individuals do not fit into the refugee status.
"Some have come here as migrants to enhance their economic status," he said when replying to a question by Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (PAS-Kota Raja) who wanted to know the number of refugees registered with UNHCR and their rights in the country.
Shahidan said based on UNHCR statistics, there are 151,838 applications for refugee status until Jan 31, 2015.
Shahidan said from the total 52,788 had applied to seek asylum while 99,050 were refugees.
He pointed out that Malaysia was not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention which this meant such persons are not recognised by Malaysia as refugees and are allowed to enter the country solely on humanitarian grounds.
Shahidan said during their stay in Malaysia, these refugees were free to move around the country without any restriction but must abide by the country's law and order.
He said the children of refugees were given free vaccination and education.
KUALA LUMPUR: There is a total of 151,838 registered refugees and asylum seekers in the country, Parliament was told.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said of the total, 99,050 are refugees while the remaining 52,788 were asylum seekers from various countries registered here as of Jan 31.
Of the total, Myanmar nationals make up a majority of the refugees and asylum seekers with 140,590.
Other nationals include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia.
"The government does not recognise their status as Malaysia is not part of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (CRSR) and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.
"However, on humanitarian reasons, these group of people are given freedom and will not be detained unless if they have violated Malaysian laws. They are not denied rights to medical assistance and education here," he said in responding to a question by Siti Mariah Mahmud (PAS- Kota Raja) on the number of refugees (by country of origin) who have registered with UNHCR the rights and protection they are entitled to while staying in the country.