KUALA LUMPUR: The government will announce its stand soon on proposals to allow UNHCR card holders to work here.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said he would make an announcement on the matter in Parliament tomorrow morning.
“Wait for the announcement,” he said when met at the parliament lobby earlier, declining to divulge details. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim had earlier told the Dewan Rakyat that the government did not intend to set up a registration centre for the refugees.
“The government does not intend to set up a centre as it would be seen as encouraging refugees to come. The placement and welfare of refugees is the responsibility of the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees as we are not a state party of Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) and the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (1967).
“A reporter managed to get a fake UNHCR card without much fuss. We have also officers sent for undercover and found that the cards are easily obtained and is cheap at RM120 each,” he said in reply to a question by Datuk Liang Teck Meng (BN-Simpang Renggam) who cited a recent expose by the New Straits Times.
“We have also received reports on the locations of syndicates selling fake UNCHR cards, not just in the Klang Valley, but also outside. I have called UNHCR this morning as this shouldn’t have happened.
“UNHCR informed us that it will use a new machine in issuing the refugee cards with better quality. Any reports of fake cards are handled by the police who will verify the authenticity of the documents with UNHCR.
“It is an offence to hold fake UNHCR cards, and illegal immigrants with these cards will be detained,” he said in response to a supplementary question by Datuk Marcus Majigoh (BN-Putatan).
He had asked if the government was considering asking the UNHCR to revoke the existing cards in an effort to address the fake card problem with the usage of the new machine.
On a different question by Tan Kok Wai (DAP-Cheras) later, Shahidan said to date, a total 158,516 people were registered with UNHCR, of which 99,015 of them had refugee status and 59,501 applied for political asylum status.
Of the total, the majority of them are Rohingya with 53,706.
The fake UNCHR refugee card obtained at RM120. Pix by ASYRAF HAMZAH