Foreign funds used to train Myanmar refugees in Malaysia, says Saifuddin

KUANTAN: The government uses foreign funds to cover the cost of skills training given to Myanmar refugees in Malaysia, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah.

The Foreign Minister said the government does not use public funds in efforts to help refugees here to obtain skills.

He said many Myanmar refugees could not gain employment because they do not have the required skills.

"Right now, we have a shortage of foreign labour. Many restaurants, factories and the construction sector are experiencing labour shortages, but employers are not willing to take them (refugees) because they don't have the basic skills.

"We are planning a skills training programme for those who want to work.

"As Foreign Minister I have lobbied for funds from other countries and international donors," he said at a press conference after the "Young Voters Determine the Future of the Nation Forum", in conjunction with the Indera Mahkota parliamentary Youth Day 2022 here, on Sunday (Aug 13), which was also attended by the Malaysian Youth Council president, Izzat Afifi Abdul Hamid.

Saifuddin, who is also Indera Mahkota MP, said so far, Qatar is one of the countries that had contributed US$50mil (RM222.22mil), with US$6mil (RM26.67mil) of this spent on refugee health matters.

He said he was saying this so Malaysians do not get upset when he talks about refugees in Malaysia and the need to provide them with opportunities for work and education.

"We have never used the public's money, all of this is done with funds coming from outside using contributions from foreign countries," he said.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin, who is also Pahang Perikatan Nasional chairman, said initial discussions on GE15 seat allocations with coalition parties stated that each would defend the seats they had won.

"Bersatu will contest in one parliamentary seat, PAS in eight state seats.

"Bersatu and Gerakan will not ask for the seats won by PAS. We will look at the focus seats and who is most suitable to contest.

"However, we are still looking at the right formula and the decision will be finalised at the Perikatan supreme council level," he said. – Bernama

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