Refugees not welcome here - Shahidan

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will not open its doors to refugees and asylum seekers, especially to the Rohingyas from Myanmar, even under humanitarian grounds, as they have become a security threat here.

Reiterating the government’s stand in not recognising or accepting refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim called on the United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR) to speed up the repatriation process.

“If we open the gates, the waters will gush in and flood the country … the problem is their presence here is a threat to our security, they are causing a lot of problems here,” Shahidan told the Dewan Negara today.

He was responding to Senator Datuk Noriah Mahat and Senator Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki on whether the government would consider opening doors to allow refugees and asylum seekers access for education in local institutions and/or welfare under humanitarian grounds.

“As we already know, we allow them to study in private schools, but that’s not the problem, their presence here is a threat to our security.

“The government’s stand is very clear, we will not allow them to stay unless there is a specific agreement made with regards to this,” Shahidan said.

He added that the government has constantly urged UNHCR to speed up repatriation to either the original country or a third country.

Pointing out that Malaysia is not party to the 1951 Refugee Convention or the Refugee Status Protocol 1967, Shahidan said these refugees and asylum seekers, especially the Rohingya community, could go to Cambodia or Philippines, which are signatories to the convention.