THE PLIGHT OF REFUGEES IN MALAYSIA: MALAYSIA AS A TRANSIT COUNTRY IN PROTECTING REFUGEES’ RIGHTS

  • Rohaida Nordin
  • Suzarika Sahak
  • Ma Kalthum Ishak

Abstract

The role of UNHCR and respective transit countries is to help refugees find lasting solutions that will allow them to rebuild their lives in dignity and peace, via local integration, voluntary repatriation or resettlement in a third country. Awaiting resettlement, the refugees are always mistakenly believed to be economic migrants or illegal immigrants. Due to the absence of legal or administrative regulations governing refugees, they are exposed to detention with the possibility of refoulement. These refugees are not legally permitted to work, which leads them to work discreetly and are willing to perform low-paying jobs in order to earn a living. Children are denied proper education and healthcare, which are considered as luxuries they could not afford. All these are common and enduring plights that still haunt refugees in Malaysia. This article reviews the plight of refugees in Malaysia during the transitional period before resettlement, discusses the roles of Malaysia as a transit country, and proposes lasting solutions for refugees in Malaysia. It is hoped that this article will provide a better understanding of the roles of transit countries particularly Malaysia for protection of refugees’ rights especially on their resettlement. In addition, assistance from UNHCR and other NGOs are also important to solve this problem.

 

Keywords: Malaysia, refugee, resettlement, transit country, UNHCR.

 

Cite as: Sahak, S., Nordin, R., & Ishak, M. K. (2020). The plight of refugees in Malaysia: Malaysia as a transit country in protecting refugees’ rights.  Journal of Nusantara Studies, 5(1), 378-394. http://dx.doi.org/10.24200/jonus.vol5iss1pp378-394

Author Biographies

Rohaida Nordin

Faculty of Law, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM Bangi, Selangor.

Suzarika Sahak

Pejabat Ketua Pendaftar, Mahkamah Persekutuan Malaysia, Aras 2, Presint 3, 62506 Putrajaya.

Ma Kalthum Ishak

Pusat Inovasi Kolaboratif UKM, 43600 UKM Bangi, Selangor.

Published
2020-01-30
How to Cite
Nordin, R., Sahak, S., & Ishak, M. K. (2020). THE PLIGHT OF REFUGEES IN MALAYSIA: MALAYSIA AS A TRANSIT COUNTRY IN PROTECTING REFUGEES’ RIGHTS. Journal of Nusantara Studies (JONUS), 5(1), 378-394. https://doi.org/10.24200/jonus.vol5iss1pp378-394