Immigration to adhere to govt policy on entry of Rohingyas

PUTRAJAYA: The Immigration Department will comply with the government policy on the entry of Rohingya refugees into the country following the turmoil in Myanmar, says director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali.

He said 137 nationwide checkpoints under the purview of the department would continue to carry out operations according to its standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the government on the issue of Rohingya refugees.

"The Immigration Department is an implementing agency which will obey any decision, whether to allow Rohingya refugees in or not.

"All this while, if they are ethnic Rohingyas or Myanmar nationals who came to the country illegally, the Immigration Department arrested them. The action was taken as there were also Myanmar nationals who did not have any document and some of them carried United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cards.

"However, the entry of Rohingya is different as it is an international issue. We differentiate between refugees such as Rohingyas who need protection and those who come for economic reasons. Economic refugees are not allowed in," he told a media conference after heading an Immigration Department operations, investigations and prosecution division Anti-Corruption Pledge here today.

Yesterday, Home Deputy Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said Malaysia was prepared to accept more Rohingya refugees into the country following the tense situation in Myanmar.

The UNHCR has so far issued 56,000 UNHCR cards to Rohingya refugees to allow them to live in the country.

On the status of 44 ethnic Rohingyas who were arrested at an illegal assembly in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 30, Mustafar said the matter was pending police investigations. — Bernama