Muhyiddin: Refugee children born here don't get automatic citizenship

KUALA LUMPUR: Citizenship is not given to children born to refugee parents in Malaysia, says Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

"There are children born here to refugees who are married, or those who get married here.

"But the status of their children remains as children of refugee parents," he said when answering a supplementary question Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Mohamed Said (BN-Kuala Krau) in Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (Oct 24).

He added the births of such children here are merely recorded to allow UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, to issue UNHCR refugee cards for them.

"It does not mean that they are given citizenship, as that is a totally different provision under the Federal Constitution," he added.

He said the record is also used to help facilitate the education and health needs of the children.

To a question by Datuk Rosol Wahid (PH-Hulu Terengganu), Muhyiddin said there are currently 177,943 refugees, from 57 countries, registered as UNHCR refugee cardholders.

He added Myanmar refugees were the largest group with UNHCR cards totalling 153,591, followed by Pakistani refugees with 6,495 cards and Yemeni refugees with 3,586 cards.

Muhyiddin said that UNHCR had resettled 2,318 refugees in US, Australia United Kingdom, Norway, Finland, France, South Korean and Japan between June and September this year.

On a separate matter, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman told lawmakers that 66,364 illegal immigrants had registered under the Back For Good (B4G) voluntary repatriation programme between Aug 1 and Oct 22.

"Of this, 46,976 have since returned to their country of origin, while 19,388 are waiting to leave the country in the next seven days," he said when replying to a question raised by Alice Lau Kiong Yieng (PH-Lanang).

He added the government is not considering offering further amnesty programmes to illegal immigrants in the near future.

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