Sunday, December 6, 2015

Govt investigating claims of fake UNHCR cards

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is investigating claims that fake UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) cards are being sold, the Dewan Rakyat was told today. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim said the National Security Council had been informed of the matter. "We have advised the council to lodge a police report so that investigation can be carried out. 

We received information that there are thousands of people at the UNHCR office applying for the cards as either refugees or those seeking political asylum. Shahidan said the authorities had trouble identifying the refugees as they came into the country without documents. “We need to know how they were able to enter the country without any documents,” he said. Shahidan added that the possibility of allowing the refugees to enter the workforce had been discussed with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. 

He was responding to a supplementary question by William Leong (PKR-Selayang), who claimed that fake UNHCR cards were sold between RM1500 and RM3500. Shahidan said as Malaysia is not a party of the Convention and Protocol Relating to Status of Refugees, refugees here are meant to be housed temporarily here before being transferred to a third country or being returned to their homeland. "According to records by UNHCR, there were those who have been moved to Australia and United States but the number is relatively small. Overall, there are currently 154,219 political asylums and refugee status seekers here, of which the majority of them are from Myanmar," he said.

Malaysia probes alleged sale of fake UNHCR cards to illegal migrants

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has launched a probe on the alleged sale of fake United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) refugee cards to illegal migrants, the Dewan Rakyat was told.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said the government was monitoring the situation and a police report had been lodged so that action could be taken against the culprit.

"We have ordered the National Security Council (NSC) to lodge a police report so the police can investigate. If we look at the daily situation in front of the UNHCR office, thousands of people queue up every day to apply for the card.

"But once they come out of the office, we know that none of them has valid documentation. It is hard to tell their status so we lodge a report to stop the selling of the card," he told William Leong Jee Keen (PKR-Selayang) during question time on Tuesday.

Leong had asked the government to reveal action it was taking after it was alleged that fake UNHCR cards were being sold between RM1,500 and RM3,500.

Shahidan said the government wanted to put a stop from more refugees coming into the country and to just apply for the UNHCR cad.

"This should not happen. As some of them maybe had previous criminals in their countries and easily apply for the card thinking that they will receive some sort of protection using the UNHCR card," he said.

He also noted the matter was discussed with the Prime Minister whether to allow refugees to work in certain sectors in the country.

"This is because they are already here…rather than bringing more workers from outside," he said.

He said those holding the UNHCR card can temporarily stay in the country before they would be sent back to their home country.

According to the UNHCR Malaysia statistics, as at Oct 31, there are 154, 219 refugees registered, with more than 90 per cent of them from Myanmar.- 

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