PETALING JAYA: Criticism has arisen over plans by the police to reveal the identities of 61 Rohingya detainees who escaped from an immigration depot last week.
North-South Initiative executive director Adrian Pereira told FMT that publicising the identies would only endanger the lives of the Rohingya, who had been trying to escape deplorable living conditions.
The police plan would only encourage vigilantism among the public and endanger the refugees and their families, he said. Reports received by his group had shown that the Rohingya community already faced much hostility from Malaysians.
Releasing the names and photographs of the Rohingya refugees would make them appear to be criminals. “You would only publish the identities for highly dangerous criminals, wanted persons or those who are a risk to the public. These refugees are none of those,” he said.
Kedah police chief Wan Hassan Wan Ahmad recently said that the police were preparing the names and photos of the 61 detainees for distribution to the mass media. More than 500 detainees rioted before escaping from the depot in Bandar Bahru, Kedah last week.
Tenaganita executive director Glorene Das questioned the police plan. “Isn’t there a better way to manage the situation instead of starting some sort of a manhunt?” she said.
She said the authorities should seek better solutions in discussions with the United Nations refugee agency or other civil organisations.