A TOTAL of 90,301 refugees from various countries were registered with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kuala Lumpur as of Sept 1, said Deputy Foreign Minister A. Kohilan Pillay.
He told Hamim Samuri (BN-Ledang) that Malaysia was working with the UNHCR to send the refugees back to their country of origin or relocate them to other countries willing to accept them.
“A total of 49,082 refugees have been sent to third countries, 68% through the UNHCR and the rest via the International Organisation for Migration,” he said.
Kohilan said Malaysia was not a party to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 1951 and its 1967 Protocol.
“Since there is no specific law here for refugees, they are subjected to the Immigration Act. All of them are regarded as illegal immigrants,” he said.
Kohilan said the refugee issue was never raised by Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines or Thailand during bilateral talks.
“However, the embassies and high commissions based here would always assist in the documentation of refugees for relocation to other countries,” he said.
Kohilan told M. Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) that refugees were provided with medical aid and education programmes during their time here.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman said 19 publications had been reprimanded for publishing content deemed as a threat against public order.
However, he said no publications had had their permits revoked.
Abu Seman said in a reply to Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (BN-Lenggong) that the Government would ensure that the media in the country was free of seditious, slanderous and insulting content.
Abu Seman said the ministry had also approved applications for permits for 76 newspapers in several languages.