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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Aug 2 decision for info bid on 114 Myanmar nationals targeted for deportation

 


The Kuala Lumpur High Court will decide on Aug 2 whether to allow Amnesty International and another human rights group to obtain information about the status of 114 Myanmar nationals targeted for deportation from Malaysia.

Lawyer Lim Wei Jiet today confirmed that the court fixed the decision date for the groups’ discovery application.

The discovery application seeks to bolster the main judicial review application by Amnesty International and Asylum Access Malaysia against the deportation of over 1,200 Myanmar nationals to their strife-torn homeland. Lim acts for both groups.

The lawyer said that the court fixed the decision date following the hearing of the discovery application via zoom conducted yesterday.

“(Yesterday was the) hearing of the discovery application. The (court’s) decision is on Aug 2,” Lim told Malaysiakini today.

On Feb 23, the court had issued an interim stay order against the deportation of the 1,200 Myanmar nationals to their homeland.

However, despite the court order, the Malaysian Immigration Department deported 1,086 Myanmar nationals via Myanmar navy vessels that came to take them.

Since then, the two NGOs have been granted leave by the high court to proceed with the main judicial review against the Malaysian government, the home minister, and the Immigration Department director-general.

The remaining 114 Myanmar citizens are still in Malaysia under an interim protection order against deportation, pending the judicial review's disposal.

Through the discovery application, the two groups seek to obtain documentation on crucial information, not just about the 114 Myanmar nationals that left in the country but also of the 1,086 that have been deported.

It is understood that some of the Myanmar nationals are asylum-seekers registered with the United Nations Human Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), and this is something the two rights groups are trying to ascertain.

When contacted by Malaysiakini, senior federal counsel (SFC) Ahmad Hanir Hambaly confirmed that the court had set Aug 2 to deliver its decision on the two rights groups’ discovery application.

The SFC is part of the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC), who act for the three respondents in the matter - the Immigration director-general, the home minister, and the Malaysian government.

The court has yet to fix a date to hear the merits of the main judicial review as it seeks to dispose of the discovery application first.

It was reported that Malaysia had agreed to deport 1,200 people to Myanmar amid a military coup and deadly protests in the country.

Previously, news portal Free Malaysia Today reported that three Myanmar-flagged vessels, including one described as a military operations ship, had arrived in Lumut, Perak, and were anchored off the naval base there.

The UNHCR had urged Malaysia not to proceed with the deportation, while other groups warned that the deportation could legitimise the military junta now in power and expose Rohingya and other ethnic minorities to persecution.

The country had previously expressed "serious concern" over the coup in Myanmar.

Malaysia does not recognise the UN refugee status. Hence, refugees are viewed under the law as undocumented migrants.

Despite the non-recognition, Malaysia is home to an estimated 154,000 refugees from Myanmar, apart from the larger number of undocumented migrant workers. - Mkini

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