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Saturday, May 28, 2016

One year passed, Putrajaya says still no idea where ‘boat people’ came from

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi admitted today that Putrajaya is still ascertaining the nationalities of the refugees reportedly languishing in Malaysia’s detention centres with no recourse over their fate.

The refugees dubbed “boat people” are believed be mostly the persecuted Rohingya minority from Myanmar, but the home minister said their identities could not be confirmed due to lack of identification papers.

“We are still checking whether they are really Rohingyas or Bangladeshis because there are no documents being issued to them by either the Bangladeshi government or the government of Myanmar,” Zahid told reporters here.

He had earlier welcomed 68 Syrian refugees at the Subang Royal Malaysian Air Force base here.

It has now been over a year since the “boat people” crisis which saw both Burmese and Bangladeshi citizens fleeing their countries, and later housed in detention camps here after a tripartite collaboration between Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

Ahmad Zahid said the refugees who were mainly professionals, would be placed temporarily at three-room apartments in Setia Alam.

He said that those who wish to work and study here will also be issued with the necessary documentation.

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