Registration for Refugees in Malaysia Officially Announced
07 November 2011 – KUALA LUMPUR: After months of confusion among refugees community, UNHCR on Monday officially announced that it will undertake a joint exercise with Malaysian Government to register refugees and asylum seekers staying in the country.
The move, expected to take off in January next year, involves some 94,800 refugees and asylum-seekers whose status are already confirmed by the UNHCR in Malaysia.
UNHCR representative Alan Vernon said that the inclusion of refugees’ identity in a government database is expected to lead to greater protection for the refugees particularly against arrest and detention as their identities could then be easily verified by law enforcement officials.
“This will also help prevent prosecution of persons holding UNHCR documents for immigration offences or deportation. It will also help address the problem of fraudulent UNHCR identification cards,” he said in a statement on Sunday.
The joint exercise will be carried out in major cities where the refugees are located involving Malaysia Home and Foreign ministries, immigration, Malaysia National Security Council and the UNHCR.
It was reported that Malaysian government and UNHCR started the registration program for certain groups of Burmese national refugees as early as August this year.
The registration exercises started without an official announcement by both Malaysian authority and UNHCR, causing confusion among different group of refugees who do not know when and how to register.
It’s also causing grave concerns in fear of deportation to Burma over a registration document issued by the Malaysian Immigration which contains ‘returning to your country of origin’ written in local Malay language.
Reporting by Thomas Chong