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Friday, August 19, 2022

Home ministry to determine if Rohingya refugees can work here, says minister


According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are 103,090 Rohingya refugees in the country. (AP pic)

PETALING JAYA: Human resources minister M Saravanan wants the home ministry to make the final decision on allowing Rohingya refugees to work in the country as it involves national security.

He said his ministry is still awaiting a home ministry report on whether Rohingya refugees should be allowed to do so, Harian Metro reported.

“I understand we are desperate (for foreign workers), but we cannot compromise on national security. I am leaving this to the home ministry to study the issue in detail,” Saravanan was reported to have said.

“If we allow this, more (Rohingya) will want to come here. I am made to understand that there are ships which have been in international waters (with Rohingya refugees) for months, and they can enter the country in a blink of an eye.”

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He added that the refugees who have entered the country are supposed to be sent to a third country, but there is little evidence of that happening.

“These refugees (ethnic Rohingya) enter Malaysia, and within a few years they have to be sent to a third country. But so far I have not seen any third country willing to accept them.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says there are 103,090 Rohingya refugees in Malaysia.

Activists have previously called for Rohingya refugees to be allowed to work in the country, stating that it would alleviate the labour shortage in certain industries and help integrate them into local society.

Meanwhile, Saravanan said the intake of all foreign workers into Peninsular Malaysia would have to get the approval of the Peninsular Malaysia labour department (JTKSM) from Sept 1.

He said this was to control the flow of foreign workers into the country and address the issue of illegal immigrants.

“With the amendments to the Employment Act 1955, no employment agency (is allowed) to bring in foreign workers from abroad, whether professional or non-professional, without the consent of the labour department director-general effective Sept 1,” he was quoted as saying.

On Tuesday, Saravanan was reported to have said that the temporary freeze on applications to hire foreign workers will be lifted starting today.

He said although the temporary freeze was decided upon earlier, the new decision was made after taking into consideration requests from affected industries to lift the temporary freeze. - FMT

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