No political asylum or refugee status for illegals

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 25 Oct 2007

MALAYSIA has not granted political asylum or refugee status to any illegal immigrant, the Foreign Ministry said. 

The country would only provide temporary shelter to such people on humanitarian grounds, parliamentary secretary Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said. 

He said this was because Malaysia did not ratify the United Nations’ Convention on Refugee Status 1951 and the 1967 Protocol. 

Ahmad Shabery explained that Malaysia was surrounded by neighbours who had to deal with specific internal issues. 

“The impact on our country in many terms will be great if we open our doors and declare these foreigners as refugees. 

“If we provide illegal immigrants, such as those from the southern Philippines with jobs, our own people will lose out in employment opportunities. 

“We are not ready to sign these treaties because the welfare of Malaysians comes first,” he told M. Kulasegaran (DAP – Ipoh Barat). 

Ahmad Shabery said from 2003 to May this year, Malaysia had 28,668 foreigners from 12 countries, mostly from Myanmar, Indonesia and Thailand, who were granted temporary protection or had special passes issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 

“As a country concerned with the welfare of these foreigners, Malaysia has co-operated with the UNHCR to repatriate them or send them to third countries,” he added. 

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