GEORGE TOWN, Jan 16 ― Malaysia has long accepted refugees from abroad on grounds of human compassion but it is time the United Nations sent them to another third-world nation, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said today.
The deputy home minister said his ministry has spoken on the issue numerous times with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), telling the world organisation that Malaysia is not a signatory to its convention on refugees.
“However, we are allowing them to stay here based on human compassion,” he told reporters this morning.
Wan Junaidi said there are about 150,000 UNHCR card holders living in Malaysia to date, adding that most of them are from Myanmar.
“We will continue to hold numerous discussions with UNHCR on this issue so that they could find a way to send these refugees on to other countries,” he said.
He said Western countries and UNHCR signatories should open their doors to these refugees.
Malaysia may allow the refugees to stay here but Wan Junaidi told UNHCR not to take advantage of Malaysia's compassion in allowing them here.
He added that Malaysia is seen as an attractive country for refugees who had no qualms taking on the ample jobs that locals shunned due to their dangerous, dirty or demeaning nature.
Earlier, Wan Junaidi warned migrant workers and refugees from Myanmar not to take law into their own hands when in Malaysia.
He was referring to the series of gruesome murders of Myanmar nationals in Penang last year in which nine Myanmar nationals have recently been charged for the crimes.
He also told them not to resolve their enmity or issues brought from their country over here and break any laws here.