Govt scrutinising refugee intake amid fears Myanmar militants may slip in

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 (Malay Mail Online) — Malaysia will remain a “transit nation” for refugees who are seeking relocation, but are concerned that militants from neighbouring Myanmar may use the country as their training grounds, a deputy minister said.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the government will keep track of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), but expressed concern that militants from Myanmar would enter the country.

“Malaysia will continue to cooperate with UNHCR to receive refugees. However, we are also concerned that with the rise of militants in Myanmar, Malaysia could be turned into a place where they train and develop their network,” he was quoted saying by local daily New Straits Times.

He said a new system being put in place to identify refugees here will help law enforcers to spot transnational crimes, human trafficking and terrorism.

“The police are putting in place a digital identification and biometric system for refugees via the new Tracking Refugee Information System.

“This (aside from the UNHCR-issued refugee card) will allow the government access to updated and extensive data on refugees in the country,” he said.

Through this system, the government would be able to get information and biometric data of refugees and asylum seekers who are already in UNHCR’s database, he said.

He also said the Home Ministry’s new MyRC identity card — under its Proof of Concept programme introduced in April — provides recognition of refugee status.

The government had reportedly fixed September 30 as the deadline for 150,000 UNHCR refugees to register for MyRC.

Last month, national news agency Bernama reported Nur Jazlan as saying that only 321 refugees that were mostly Myanmar nationals had registered for MyRC.

He had said the card with 21 security features and with the refugees’ biometric data would see their refugee status respected, adding that they would not be subjected to abuse by those who want to take advantage of their refugee status.

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