SUNGAI BULOH: Job opportunities and training will be among the possible benefits for refugees who register with the Home Ministry’s Tracing Refugees Information System (TRIS) programme, said Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.
The Home Minister said a study by the National Security Council (NSC) is under way to see if refugees could work in some sectors legally.
“Through NSC, we’re looking into the possibility of giving job opportunities in the country to the refugees along with training in certain sectors.
“These sectors are plantation, construction and manufacturing. We will try to help, and the way is by getting them registered under TRIS,” he told the media here yesterday.
Hamzah also said that TRIS aimed to consolidate data on refugees in the country, who are also UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cardholders.
The minister said there were currently about 185,000 UNHCR cardholders in Malaysia, but the number could be higher.
“Through TRIS, we aim to consolidate the data to figure out the actual number,” Hamzah said after a working visit to the TRIS registration centre in Damansara Sentral here.
TRIS, which started in 2017, is Malaysia’s database system for UNHCR cardholders and asylum seekers.
Refugees and asylum seekers registered under TRIS are provided with a MyRC card, which has high-tech safety features, said Hamzah.
He said MyRC will be the only refugee identification recognised by the government after a specific number of TRIS registration is reached.
However, he did not specify the exact figure.
Hamzah said the system would also provide even more details such as marital status and information on spouses and children.
“We need improvements on the profiling part for TRIS as the current one does not provide us with details of their marital status and family.
“We saw that there were some refugees who have stayed in the country for over 30 years, hence, detailed data is important,” he said, adding that it would also be for security purposes.
While there is no cut-off time, the government would still encourage UNHCR cardholders to get registered under TRIS as operations by enforcement would be continuing from time to time.
Malaysia is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention.
Refugees are considered undocumented migrants under immigration laws in Malaysia and are at risk of arrest, detention and deportation.
While refugees are not allowed to work legally, many of them work informally.
The NSC had reportedly proposed shutting down the UNHCR office in Malaysia.
Hamzah said talks will be held with relevant parties before a decision is made.
“That’s something that we need to discuss,” he added.