KUALA LUMPUR: Absorbing refugees into the local workforce will help ease the labour shortage and prevent them from contributing to social problems.
Minister in the Prime Ministers Department Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Aziz said the Government would consider giving them some form of identification, enabling them to gain temporary employment.
He said identification and registration of these refugees, who were also security concerns, were important to ensure that they could also have access to basic healthcare and education.
Some of them have been in the country for more than 30 years and some were also born locally. As long as they are not given identification, education or employment, they could create social problems, said Nazri, who sits on the national security committee.
Nazri was speaking to reporters yesterday after launching the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Refugee Protection: A Guide to International Refugee Law handbook for MPs at the Parliament House.
In the first place, we have to import workers and these refugees are not going to compete with Malaysians, he said, adding that the move was a win-win situation for Malaysia and the refugees.
Nazri added that while the move to register them was an on-going process and while there was no time frame, it was important to ensure that only genuine refugees were given such identification.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia, some 40,000 refugees have registered with them up to May.
Some 20,000 are Acehnese, 10,000 are Rohingyas while the remainder were of other ethnic minorities from Myanmar and other countries.
An additional 60,000, mainly in Sabah, are believed to be Moro refugees.