Home Minister: 179, 383 UNHCR card holders in Malaysia according to gov't figures

PUTRAJAYA: There are 179, 383 UNHCR card holders in Malaysia according to Home Ministry records, says Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin (pic).

The Home Minister said the number of card holders has spiked since 2013, as only 140, 983 refugees were recorded then.

"We will work together with the Foreign Ministry and UNHCR to solve the influx of refugees in the country," said Hamzah.

"I feel that the majority of Malaysians do not agree with the huge number of refugees, who made Malaysia their destination of choice as it might lead to various social ills.

We have to find a credible solution as we are a sovereign nation with its own laws" he added at a special press conference on Wednesday (June 9).

He was commenting on recent attempts by refugees to enter the country via sea in the northern part of the country, the latest being attempts by the Rohingya to enter Malaysia last week.

"I am perplexed why there is a survey by the opposition media which advocated for the government to give protection to refugees despite their numbers significantly increasing," said Hamzah.

He said that the survey supposedly showed that many opposed actions by the authorities in turning away refugees at sea.

"They should have done research, asking Malaysians whether they want such refugees to be turned away as it might lead to social problems in the country," he said.

Hamzah said the problem could be solved when all parties hold a discussion with the relevant parties, especially his Ministry.

"We will discuss the matter and study the effect on the country a decade from now if we are still accepting refugees," Hamzah said.

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