Kuala Lumpur (dpa) – Malaysia will not allow refugees to work in the country despite a plea by the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, a senior official said Wednesday.
Human resources deputy minister Ismail Muttalib told the senate that allowing the more than 150,000 refugees and asylum-seekers in the country to work could create more employment problems.
On Monday, the Malaysian UNHCR representative went to the parliament to ask legislators to allow UNHCR cardholders to have a work permit.
“The country might be flooded with the cardholders to a point we cannot control their entry,” he said, adding that there are already 1.9 million foreign workers in Malaysia and an estimated more than 1 million illegal workers.
Malaysia, which is one of the more developed countries in South-East Asia, is a favourite destination of workers from its less developed neighbours such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia.