PUTRAJAYA: Rohingya refugees have no status, rights or basis to state demands from the Malaysian government, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.
He said any organisation which claims to be representing the Rohingya here was illegal under the Registrar of Societies Act.
“The Home Ministry made checks with the ROS and found that no organisation with the name Rohingya was registered in Malaysia.
“Any organisation which claims to be representing the Rohingya is illegal under the ROS Act and legal action can be taken.
“Rohingya nationals who are holders of the UNHCR card have no status, rights or basis to make any claims, ” he said yesterday.
Recently, statements were made by individuals from the Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation in Malaysia, demanding things such as equal rights, jobs, access to healthcare, and education.
The demands have triggered unprecedented negative sentiment among some members of the community against Rohingya refugees, with many urging the government to repatriate all Rohingya and to stop accepting them.
According to records, as of March, there are 179,521 UNHCR cardholders in Malaysia, of which 101,584 are Rohingya.
Hamzah said the ministry was aware of concerns over issues involving Rohingya here. He pointed out that Malaysia is not a party to the Refugee Convention 1951 or its Protocol, hence there is no legal or framework to oversee the rights of refugees here.
“The government does not recognise their status as refugees but as illegal immigrants holding United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cards, ” he said.