1,086 undocumented Myanmar nationals deported

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 1,086 Myanmar nationals were deported with the cooperation of the Malaysian Armed Forces and the Myanmar Embassy, says Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud.

The Immigration Department director-general said the Myanmar nationals were undocumented immigrants, who were detained at Immigration depots nationwide since last year.

“They were deported from the Royal Malaysian Navy’s base in Lumut, using Myanmar’s three navy vessels, ” he said yesterday.

“All of those deported were Myanmar nationals and not Rohingya or asylum seekers.”

The department through the Home Ministry and Wisma Putra will continue to work towards getting the agreements of countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh, in bringing their citizens home, he added.

Separately, the High Court has granted a temporary stay on the government’s plan to deport 1,200 Myanmar nationals following a legal challenge by two human rights groups.

The stay order is to allow for a hearing of a judicial review application today by Amnesty International and Asylum Access to stop the deportations, lawyer New Sin Yew, who represents the two groups, told The Star.

Amnesty International Malaysia and Asylum Access Malaysia jointly filed the judicial review application on Monday, and named Malaysia’s Immigration Department director-general, the Home Minister and the government as respondents.

The judicial review aims to obtain a court order to prevent the deportation, and includes the names of three UNHCR document holders and 17 minors who have at least one parent still in Malaysia.

Malaysia had agreed to deport the 1,200 individuals after the Myanmar military, which came to power in a coup on Feb 1, offered to send three navy ships to pick up its citizens at Malaysian immigration detention centres.

On Feb 15, Reuters had quoted Khairul Dzaimee as clarifying that the 1,200 Myanmar nationals to be deported will not include UNHCR cardholders or Rohingya migrants.

Malaysia Council of Churches Dr Hermen Shastri urged the government not to deport the Myanmar nationals, saying that it was an act contrary to international laws.

He also said that full access to detention centres should be granted to the UNHCR to identify potential refugees and asylum seekers.

“Not a single asylum seeker, refugee and anyone else whose life is under threat should be forced to return to Myanmar or any other country where they may face persecution, and even death in a conflict situation.”

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