KUALA LUMPUR: The government has assured that any approval for refugees to work in the country will not be made at the expense of Malaysians.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (pic) said currently, the government has a pilot project that hires refugees to work in selected areas.
"The government is studying and fine tuning this project, to see if it can be retained or not.
"We want them (refugees) to work but we need to look into this carefully as we don't want to jeopardise the chances for Malaysians who are looking for jobs," she said in reply to Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman (PAS-Sik), who asked the government's plan to solve registration issues of Rohingya refugees supervised by the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR).
Dr Wan Azizah added that some of the pilot projects for Rohingya refugees are in the plantation and manufacturing sectors.
She also said that UNHCR needs to determine if these refugees are not economic migrants.
Dr Wan Azizah said from January to May 31 this year, UNHCR had registered 173,731 refugees.
From the figure, 93,198 or 53.6% are Rohingya refugees.
She added that the government plans to resolve the problem of registering Rohingya refugees by discussing with UNHCR to place officers from police and the Immigration Department in the "Refugee Status Determination" process that is done by the UNHCR.
"However, that discussion has not been finalised but the government is committed to implement it.
"Currently, only the UNHCR can determine the status of refugees unilaterally. Therefore, by placing police and Immigration officers, it is important as it can help identify real refugees and at the same time, take care of the nation's sovereignty," she added.
Dr Wan Azizah added that the renewal for the UNHCR refugee cards with better security features are also being done by the latter.
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