KUALA LUMPUR: There are more than 180,000 refugees in the country who are UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cardholders, says the Home Ministry.
"There are a total of 180,448 illegal immigrants who are cardholders and asylum seekers under UNHCR.
"Of this, 155,406 are from Myanmar, or 86.12% of the total number of refugees," the ministry said in a written reply to Lim Lip Eng (PH-Kepong) in the Dewan Rakyat Wednesday (March 16).
The ministry also noted that of the illegals from Myanmar, ethnic Rohingya made up the largest number at 103,380.
Meanwhile, the ministry said there were 6,738 illegal immigrants from Pakistan and 3,308 from Syria who were also UNHCR cardholders.
The ministry added that the status of these illegal immigrants came under the purview of the National Security Council (NSC), tasked with managing illegals who are UNHCR cardholders.
Although Malaysia is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocols, the country has been rendering assistance and protection to refugees on humanitarian grounds, including education and health.
In October, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob called for proportionate responsibility sharing, particularly among signatories of the 1951 Convention, with regard to international legal obligations to take in more Rohingya refugees for resettlement or relocation.
The prime minister made the call during the 16th East Asia Summit (EAS).