Malaysia on potential collision course with UN body over refugee system

Malaysian authorities have mooted establishing the country’s own refugee registration system, possibly setting it on a collision course with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

(Straits Times) – This comes as the country continues its hardline response to a riot and breakout at a Rohingya refugee detention centre in Penang a fortnight ago.

Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin said on April 29 that Malaysia should be the one determining the eligibility of any refugee to temporarily stay in the country, a move that would duplicate efforts by UNHCR, which issues cards to enable refugees to live in Malaysia while awaiting resettlement.

Mr Hamzah said that Rohingya refugees – who are the biggest refugee group in Malaysia – were getting UNHCR cards “easily”.

The Straits Times, however, understands that the average waiting time for an UNHCR card for refugees of any nationality could run up to five years.

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