Politics

Malaysia Chronicle


Khaled Nordin says Malaysia must show compassion to those who seek refuge in the country.

PETALING JAYA: Umno vice-president Khaled Nordin has called on the government to be compassionate to those who seek refuge in Malaysia without compromising national security.

“In this holy month of Ramadan we should show compassion and humanity to those who seek refuge in this country without compromising our national security,” he said in a Facebook post.

He was commenting on the hundreds of Rohingya detainees who broke out of a temporary immigration detention centre in Kedah yesterday.

Khaled said incidents of escape, protests and riots at such centres were not new.

“It is a recurrent issue and is probably due to overcrowding in detention blocks, long detention periods and the limited government resources in managing such centres,” he said.

Khaled pointed out that continued and prolonged detention was a human rights violation.

“It is also a waste of people’s money when it involves full government funding.

“Rohingya who have registered under the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) should be released immediately and be allowed to work,” he said, adding that it was better than importing millions of unskilled workers through complicated memorandums of understanding.

He also said close cooperation must be enhanced with the UNHCR so that the refugees can be immediately relocated and begin life anew in third countries.

“Malaysia must show its commitment to managing refugee-related policies more transparently and responsibly,” he said.

Early yesterday morning, 528 Rohingya inmates fled the temporary immigration depot at Bandar Baharu, Kedah. There were 664 inmates at the centre at the time.

A total of 357 inmates were rounded up by police. Six were killed when they were crossing a highway.

The incident also received responses from NGOs and MPs like Wong Chen, who urged Putrajaya to implement better policies on refugees and asylum seekers. FMT

GEORGE TOWN: Police are still investigating a man who crashed into a group of Rohingya refugees who dashed across the North-South Expressway after fleeing their detention camp yesterday.

Penang police chief Shuhaily Zain said initial investigations revealed that local residents who saw the group attempting to cross the highway had advised the escapees against it, but they refused to listen.

“As you are fully aware, that is not a place where you cross a road. We have taken the driver’s statement and are still investigating the case.

“We are also on the lookout for witnesses,” he told reporters at the state police headquarters here today.

He said the six dead were an eight-year-old girl, a nine-year-old boy, two girls aged 14 and 18, and two men aged 20 and 36.

The driver of the car that hit them, a Penangite, was sober behind the wheel of a grey Toyota Vios, he added.

Shuhaily also revealed that another two escapees had minor injuries in the accident and received outpatient treatment at a nearby hospital.

Meanwhile, Sinar Harian said few locals saw several vehicles, including a trailer lorry, crashing into the Rohingyas crossing the highway.

Syamsuddin Che Adni, 29, told the daily that he helped a child sprawled over the highway divider to safety but the victim died moments later.

Separately, Shuhaily said as of 2pm, 111 more Rohingya were being pursued in the oil palm estates of Kerian, Penang, and the Nibong Tebal town area after over 500 detainees broke out of the Sungai Bakap immigration detention depot in Bandar Baharu, Kedah, early yesterday morning.

He said the police air wing from Subang had been summoned to the area to carry out an aerial search.-FMT

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