KUALA LUMPUR - The Government has been urged by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to give work passes to 153,004 refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said the UNHCR proposed the move to him in a meeting on Monday.
He said the total number of refugees included the 142,224 Myanmar nationals comprising the Rohingyas, Chin and Arakanese communities.
"However, I told the UNHCR that this matter needed to be brought up with the Home Ministry," Shahidan told reporters when met at the Parliament lobby.
He also pointed out that some of the Myanmar groups, including the Arakanese, were involved in the persecution of the Rohingyas.
Aside from Myanmar, the other refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia registered with the UNHCR were from countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Palestine, Somalia and Syria.
Shahidan said some refugees were using fake UNHCR cards and this could be a problem if the Government decides to issue work permits to them.