Shahidan: No privileges for Rohingya children born in Malaysia

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Source: Astro Awani

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will not give special privileges to children of Rohingya refugees born in Malaysia, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.

He said this group of people comprising United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) cardholders, however, could move freely in Peninsular Malaysia, were free to practise their culture and religious faith, received a 50-per cent discount at government hospitals compared to other foreigners, besides having access to private education.

Nonetheless, he said, UNHCR cardholders found to have committed offences in this country would face the law.

“The government does not recognise the refugee status of the ethnic Rohingya minority as Malaysia is not a signatory to the (United Nations) 1951 Convention related to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.“However, due to humanitarian consideration, the government has allowed for UNHCR cardholders to temporarily stay in the country until they are sent back to their country of origin or to a third country.”

Shahidan said this in reply to a question from Tan Sri Annuar Musa (BN-Ketereh) on the government’s stand on the issue in the Dewan Rakyat, here, today.

He said as of March 1, the government had implemented a pilot project permitting Rohingya with UNHCR cards to work in the manufacturing and plantation sectors for three years.