UNHCR barred from issuing ID cards, minister says
KUALA LUMPUR — The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) may no longer issue identification cards directly to applicants, according to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.
Instead, he said the Cabinet decided today that the documentation be handled by the Immigration Department and the Home Ministry.
Shahidan explained that this was to curb the indiscriminate issuance of the cards without the government’s knowledge, and that the documentation was only part of the process.
The minister added that it was improper that the UNHCR cards could be issued without the involvement of the local authorities.
“Even if the Immigration Department and the police know about it, they must then determine a refugee’s status and they can’t issue these cards out to anyone who is from Myanmar. It’s only for the Rohingya,” he explained.
UNHCR has been ordered to stop issuing the cards immediately, he said, and will be held accountable should they continue.
Local English daily the New Straits Times reported in March that around 156,000 individuals in Malaysia are registered as refugees and hold the UNHCR identification card.
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Source: Malay Mail Online
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