PETALING JAYA: A Pakatan Harapan MP has criticised the negative comments he received over a suggestion that the government bring Gazan refugees into Malaysia.
Subang MP Wong Chen, who chairs the parliamentary special select committee on international relations and international trade (PSC), said the comments are saturated with political and racial biases, particularly against Middle Eastern people.
“Those who allege that my suggestion, if taken up by the government, will be equivalent to breeding ‘terrorists’ in Malaysia will do well to re-examine their deep-seated political prejudices,” the PKR leader said in a Facebook post today.
“Put yourself in the shoes of the non-combatant ordinary people of Gaza, then ask what you would want the international community, including Malaysia, to do, to help you and your family if you were in their current dire situation.”
He said if Malaysia were to accept refugees, it would primarily involve the most vulnerable individuals, specifically women and children, not combatants.
Wong also argued that providing temporary shelter to refugees does not grant them citizenship or permanent residency.
“I am disappointed that many educated people do not understand what it means to provide shelter for refugees.
“After the war is over and things have normalised, the refugees will be sent home. That is the international norm on refugee matters,” he said while acknowledging that some refugees might apply for residency or citizenship.
At a press conference at Parliament yesterday, Wong said the PSC would discuss with the foreign ministry to explore the possibility of sending a team to the Rafah crossing to vet Gazan refugees and bring them to Malaysia.
He was responding to a question on whether Malaysia should follow Scotland’s example in welcoming refugees from Gaza.
The Rafah crossing, situated at the southern border of Gaza, provides an exit route into Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, where many Palestinians are gathering in hopes of escaping the conflict.