BY ASLAM ABD JALIL
I REFER to the letter “Give jobs to locals instead of refugees” (NST, March 21). I would like to correct some points raised by the writer.
ON allowing refugees to work: It is an effort to weed out those who hold fake United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cards.
This mechanism can help because the records of refugees will be tallied with their work permits. However, it is more than this. Allowing refugees to work means they will no longer be employed illegally or work in “black market”.
Work rights for refugees are a violation of the country’s laws: Section 55 of the Immigration Act 1959/63 gives discretionary power to the home minister to allow a class of people to enter this country and it has been used a few times. IMM 13 permits were issued before to the Moro, Acehnese and Rohingya refugees to allow them to stay and work. In fact, the Muslim Chams from Cambodia were accepted and integrated into local society.
WHAT about locals who are jobless?: There are many factors that contribute to unemployment among Malaysians. Blaming refugees and migrants of stealing jobs is simplistic and xenophobic. Refugees whom I’ve met said they were willing to take up 3D (dirty, dangerous and demeaning) jobs.
In fact, refugees are already working in informal sectors. It’s a matter of legalising for better regulation and protection. Read more