AS a Muslim nation that will “not turn its face away”, Malaysia will open its doors to 3,000 Syrian migrants over the next three years to help with its refugee crisis, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Prime Minister said Muslim countries were partly responsible for the marginalised Syrians fleeing their country, causing social and economic stresses in Europe.
About four million Syrian refugees are estimated to have fled into neighbouring countries over the last four years and are struggling with hardship and poverty.
Malaysia is one of the few Muslim countries taking the lead to aid Syrian refugees besides providing shelter for refugees from elsewhere.
“This is why Malaysia has taken, over the years, many people fleeing war, starvation and persecution,” he said at the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday.
Najib said new international solutions were needed to deal with the plight of the Syrians.
Malaysia will offer shelter and jobs temporarily to 3,000 Syrian refugees as well as education access for their children while in this country.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said accepting the refugees showed the compassion of the government over the fate of Syrian refugees.
"What is important is tp provide shelter for them and their families, and we will also look at various ways to provide education for their children.
"We will use our experience in dealing with refugees so that we can provide temporary shelter, education and jobs to them until there is peace in Syria, after which they can return to their country," he told reporters after the Asean Special Ministerial Meeting on Radicalism and Extremism.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in his speech at the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations on Thursday had announced Malaysia's willingness to accept 3,000 Syrian refugees within the next three years to help in the refugee crisis involving Syrian citizens.
Najib said Muslim nations were partly responsible for the well-being of the Syrians who were displaced from their country in large numbers, which had also caused economic and social stress in Europe.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said Malaysia had experience in providing assistance to the people of countries in turmoil including Bosnia-Herzegovina and had been praised internationally.
"Then, we had Bosnian students studying at the International Islamic University, Malaysia. They are now key leaders in Bosnia in politics and the corporate sector as well as in their professions," he said.
As such, Ahmad Zahid said, Malaysians regardless of race and religion, should support the Prime Minister's plans to help the people of Syria.
He said the Home Ministry through the Immigration Department will arrange e the entry of the Syrian refugees under existing Immigration regulations.
He said the ministry will also collaborate with the International Organisation for Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to issue refugee cards with security features to them.
Asked when the refugees will arrive in Malaysia, Ahmad Zahid said he will discuss the matter further with the Prime Minister as soon as Najib returns from overseas.
He added that the location for the shelter areas for the Syrians had also not been finalised.