KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia does not have any intention to be a state party of Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 1951 and its Protocol 1967, for now, Dewan Rakyat was told today. Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina said the government stand on the matter remains, but it would continue to extend assistance to the refugees including Rohingya and those from Middle East based on humanitarian grounds.
"The government make the decision to whether ratify the convention based on evaluation of its capacity. However, Malaysia has allowed refugees with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) status to seek shelter here while waiting for resettlement to third country or return to their homeland. "In terms of welfare, they are allowed access to medical services at public clinics and hospitals at a 50 per cent discounted rate imposed on expatriates, while vaccination for children is free.
They are not stopped from getting formal education at private schools run by their community or non-governmental organisations," he said in reply to a question by Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR-Permatang Pauh). On humanitarian assistance to Syria's refugees, Reezal said the government had contributed $US500,000 to Syria during the Second International Humanitarian Pledging Conference (IHPC) in Kuwait on Jan 15 last year. "This was aimed to help Syrians in and outside their homeland, as well as to ease burden of countries who are now host to some 4 million Syrian immigrants. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during the 70th United Nations General Assembly in September in New York had also announced that Malaysia would accept 3,000 Syrian migrants within three years to help address the refugee crises."