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No order for refugees to register

 | August 25, 2011

Hishammuddin Hussein denies that his ministry issued an order for UNHCR card holders to register under the 6P amnesty programme.

PUTRAJAYA: The Home Ministry is unaware of the order demanding United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) card holders to register under the ongoing 6P amnesty programme.

On Tuesday, 10,000 UNHCR card holders turned up to register under the 6P programme at the Immigration Department in Putrajaya after an apparent eleventh hour notice on Monday night from the ministry.

However, a bulk of these refugees and asylum seekers were turned away by the ill-prepared Immigration Department who said they could only process 2,500 applications a day.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein today said there was no such order.

However, he added that talks were in progress with the UNHCR Malaysia where these card holders would be registered in batches as to not overwhelm the Immigration Department.

“It was not an order by the Home Ministry, not that I know off… we have been engaging UNHCR (to register the card holders) so their registration can be done in a staggered (manner),” he told a press conference here.

“There is nothing sinister about this. We are engaging UNHCR over the matter,” he added.

‘I will not be discouraged’

The 6P registration process was initially meant to register illegal migrant workers. However, the ministry later announced that legal foreign workers would have to register as well.

The move to register refugees and asylum seekers under the programme was criticised by those who argued that refugees were different from migrant workers.

UNHCR card holders also expressed fear over possible deportation after registration.

When this was highlighted, Home Ministry deputy secretary-general (national registration and immigration policy) Alwi Ibrahim said the refugees would be separated into another category at a later time.

“They will have to register first under the 6P, then we will separate them from illegal workers,” he told FMT.

The ministry also revealed that 2, 237 978 illegal and legal migrants had registered under the 6P programme to date.

On another matter, Hishammuddin, who received a death threat and two live bullets yesterday, said that he would not be discouraged from carrying our his responsibilities as he believed he was on the right track.

The minister said that it was normal for him to receive such threats but this was the first time that he was threatened with live bullets.

In his speech at the ministry’s monthly meeting earlier, he joked about the incident, saying: “Pehaps, the person thinks the ministry does not have enough bullets, so they sent two more.”

Also read:

‘What is UNHCR doing?’

Amnesty programme comes under fire


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