Win-win for Malaysia’s security and economy, and refugee protection
Kuala Lumpur, 3 February 2017 (UNHCR) - UNHCR welcomes the announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi yesterday regarding a pilot project that will allow an initial group of 300 Rohingya refugees to work in the plantation and manufacturing sectors in the country.
UNHCR believes that a scheme that allows genuine refugees the opportunity to work lawfully would have a remarkable and positive impact on their quality of protection.
It would also help the Government deal with its legitimate concerns about criminality and security, and provide a source of willing labour to support the Malaysian economy.
A scheme that allows refugees to live and work legally in Malaysia would transform the quality and protection of their lives. Greater self-sufficiency among refugee communities would lead to better health and education, and significantly reduce the burden on the host state.
It would also provide a stronger basis for refugees to plan their future, including returning to their home countries with transferrable skills to start their new lives.
UNHCR is convinced that this new approach is a ‘win-win’ for the people of Malaysia for its security and economy, and for refugees who live here temporarily. It is our hope that after an initial pilot phase, this scheme can be expanded to benefit all refugees in the country.
UNHCR welcomes the cooperation it enjoys with the Government of Malaysia, including through the recent Joint Task Force to tackle the complex challenges of mixed migration and refugees in Malaysia.