PETALING JAYA: A total of 153,850 refugees and asylum-seekers have registered themselves with the Malaysian office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The statistics, as of September, showed that 33,740 of the refugees were below the age of 18.
This was revealed at a symposium on “Malaysia’s Immigration Crisis? The Different Experiences of Migrants, Refugees and Expats” organised by the Strategic Information and Research Development Centre on Saturday.
“Migration is always cross-border. That means legally it cannot be handled by the logistics of national law only.
“It needs lateral legal arrangements and regulations across borders in order to handle migration,” said Unicef Malaysia’s senior social policy specialist Dr Victor P. Karunan.
Simon Williams, a lecturer at Taylor’s University’s Centre for Language, said: “Originally, I was all for them to be integrated to the state system (national school) but now I don’t agree with that point anymore.
“Can Malaysia handle 30,000 plus kids being integrated into the state system? I don’t think they can.
“A lot of these kids are not used to the Malaysian curriculum,” he said.
“The Rohingya people would go for a more Islamic curriculum.
“The Chin community wants to go for a more English curriculum because they have the notion that they will be repatriated to another country, even though the rates are very low,” said Williams, who has been working with refugee schools for the last three years.