PUTRAJAYA: The government is considering an agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on its role and responsibilities in managing refugees and asylum seekers effectively, says Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic).
The Deputy Prime Minister also said that the involvement of government agencies, UNHCR and NGOs would be further enhanced through more efficient management and enforcement mechanisms.
"The government will emphasise on planning and strengthening its role through four improvement clusters," he said in a statement on Monday (May 8).
He said that committees and a special task force would be established for a mechanism to manage refugees and asylum seekers.
The government would also be more involved in determining refugee status that was previously carried out by UNHCR unilaterally.
Enforcement and legislation of refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia would also be coordinated, Ahmad Zahid said.
Refugees who were registered with the government would also be provided with a social support system, he added.
"Coordination in monitoring, assistance and social support throughout the period for refugees in Malaysia will limit to those who have registered with the government only as a preparation before they are placed in a third country," he said.
Ahmad Zahid said this after chairing the high committee meeting on managing refugees and asylum seekers by the National Security Council (NSC) here.
Ahmad Zahid, who was also NSC chairman, said there are currently a total of 185,760 UNHCR card holders in Malaysia.
Of the number, 160,332 were from Myanmar with 67% of them Rohingyas.
He also said that other significant numbers of nationalities were Pakistanis (7,109), Yemenis (3,466), Afghans (3,444), Somalians (3,161) and Syrians (3,161).