|Malaysia Disagrees With World Refugee Survey
PUTRAJAYA, June 20 (Bernama) -- Malaysia strongly disagrees with the newly released World Refugee Survey 2008, which among others puts the nation in the same basket as China, India, Thailand and Bangladesh, in the treatment of refugees.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in stating this here Friday, said Malaysia to date has been quite cooperative "in terms of some refugees who make their way to Malaysia" seeking shelter.
"But we have to balance (this) with the fact that we cannot open the floodgates, otherwise we would face serious problems.
"We already have problems of illegal immigrants in Sabah. This is already a major concern for some. How much more open do you want Malaysia to be? Already people are complaining (of Malaysia's situation for letting in too many illegal immigrants). I would certainly disagree with the report," he said.
He told reporters this after chairing the cabinet committee meeting on investment and infrastructure, here Friday.
A foreign news agency Friday reported that China, India, Malaysia, Thailand and Bangladesh had been identified as among the worst violators of refugees' rights in the World Refugee Survey 2008 released ahead of today's World Refugees Day.
The annual study was conducted by the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), a non-governmental group based in Washington.
In a report card, where countries were graded from A to F that forms the basis for the USCRI worst violators' list, China, Malaysia and Thailand received an F grade following a study on forcibly returning refugees to their homes and physical protection of refugees.
Malaysia, the report said, forcibly sent refugees from Myanmar to Thailand, where "some of them were sold into slavery -- men to fishing boats and women to brothels.
Malaysia also got an F alongside Bangladesh and China in a study on conditions in which refugees were detained and not provided access to courts.
The country also obtained the worst grade in a study on whether governments allowed refugees to earn a livelihood.
The report said Malaysia in 2005 issued documents to refugees from neighbouring Indonesia's Aceh province allowing them to work and move about freely following the tsunami disaster that devastated the province.
Of the 32,000 Acehnese who received those documents, only 6,000 remained in Malaysia as of this year while the others returned home, the report said.
On another note, the Deputy Prime Minister also said the government had no knowledge of companies illegally importing F-5 and F-14 military fighter jet parts into the country.
"It cannot be with the government as we have no knowledge whatsoever about it. I do not know if there are private companies involved in this.
"There is no stopping them to buy on their own accord without informing us. We are not in the business of selling parts to a third country. We don't do that. I cannot determine if any company had sought for the parts," he said.
However Najib, who is also the Defence Minister, said the government would not hesitate to act against any company if it had breached the law of the country.
He said this when asked to comment on a statement by a Pakistani, who pleaded guilty on Thursday, to illegally exporting F-5 and F-14 parts to Malaysia, which prosecutors said may eventually end up in Iran.
The man, Jilani Humayun, 60 a Pakistani citizen and resident of Long Island, New York, said this in his guilty plea at the US District Court in Manhattan to conspiracy to illegally export arms and to commit money laundering charge levelled against him.
The case was reported in a wire news agency Friday.