Cops scout temporary sites to house boat people

Cops scout temporary sites to house boat people

SEREMBAN - Police will start finding places to briefly house some of the 7,000 boat people from Myanmar and Bangladesh currently stranded at sea.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said his men would work with the other agencies to look for suitable locations for the migrants stranded in the Bay of Bengal and in South-East Asian waters.

"Since the Government has agreed to temporarily house these people, we will sit down with representatives from the other agencies and see where best to house them," he told reporters.

Asked whether they could be housed on an island, Khalid said it would not be ruled out.

"It all depends on whether we have the facilities. We will do our best to assist these people.

On Wednesday, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta agreed to allow the 7,000 migrants to come ashore but with strict conditions.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said the international community had to resettle or repatriate the Rohingya and Bangladeshis within a year of them being given shelter and that the offer was only for those currently stranded in the waters off the two countries.

"It is not on open-ended offer as it may encourage more boat people to make their way here," Anifah said.

Earlier, Khalid witnessed the presentation of the Pingat Jasa Pahlawan Negara to 167 recipients here.

The recipients were police personnel who served during the Emergency from 1948 to 1960, the communist insurgency from 1968 to 1989 and in Sabah and Sarawak from 1962 to 1990.

In Kuala Lumpur, Bernama reported that Mercy Malaysia had started helping migrants at the Belantik detention centre in Kedah.

"We have concentrated our aid on two main areas - health and medical - as well as essential non-food items," Mercy Malaysia president Datuk Dr Ahmad Faizal Perdaus said in a statement yesterday.

It was reported that 1,158 Bangladeshis and Rohingyas from Myanmar, including women and children, landed illegally by boat in Langkawi, Kedah, on May 10.

Those interested in supporting Mercy Malay­sia's humanitarian assistance to the refugees can donate to CIMB Bank (account number 80-0249839-3), c/o Malaysian Medical Relief Society or at Mercy Malaysia's head office.

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