The government has always used regional and international platforms to urge signatory countries of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees to fulfil their responsibilities.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah, Sarawak Affairs and Special Functions) Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong, said this includes providing protection to refugees regardless of origin, ethnicity and religion.
“If all signatory countries can fulfil their responsibilities as stated in the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol, then this refugee issue can be addressed. Also, the continuous influx of refugees and asylum seekers can be resolved,” he said in the Dewan Negara earlier today (June 20).
Wilson said this in reply to a question from Datuk Dr Dominic Lau Hoe Chai who wanted to know the government’s steps in improving and playing a more effective role in handling refugee-related issues, including discussions with international organisations.
He said for Malaysia to have its own refugee and asylum seeker management mechanism without relying on foreign entities, the government will emphasise efficient management and enforcement mechanisms.
Wilson said this includes the coordination of welfare and social policies in addition to ensuring the country’s security and sovereignty.
“The government also uses the platform of the Joint Task Force (JTF) between the government and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to discuss refugee issues in Malaysia,” he said.
On May 8, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government was considering entering into an agreement with the UNHCR regarding the commission’s role and responsibilities towards refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia.
Ahmad Zahid said the agreement with UNHCR over the matter was in line with Resolution 428 (V) of the UN General Assembly (1950).
Source : Nst