KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia will be issuing special identification cards for the 3,000 Syrian refugees it will be accepting into the country.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the Home Ministry, via the Immigration Department, would facilitate the arrival of the refugees based on current laws.
"Usually, the UNHCR will work with the International Organisation of Migrants (IOM) to issue cards for the refugees who enter Malaysia.
"This time, we will issue iKad for the refugees which, among others, will have security elements embedded into the card for the use of the Immigration Department," he told a press conference after the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism (SAMMRRAVE) here yesterday.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced at the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday that Malaysia would open its doors to 3,000 Syrian migrants over the next three years to help alleviate the refugee crisis. About four million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries since the start of the civil war there in 2011.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said Malaysia's move to accept Syrian refugees was based on humanitarian considerations.
"Malaysia has experience with this, when we accepted refugees from Bosnia, and we were not only praised for it, but the gesture paid off eventually," he said.
"Many Bosnian refugees who studied here during that period are now holding major positions in various fields back in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
"They contribute to Malaysia's efforts to bringing up our good work on the international level."
Asked when the Syrian refugees would be arriving and where they would be placed, Dr Ahmad Zahid said it would be discussed with Najib first.
"We have not gone into the details yet. We are thinking of working with the private sector to help place them, give the refugee children an education and also to provide temporary jobs until they are able to return to Syria," he said.
On racism, Dr Ahmad Zahid warned that it could lead to ethnic cleansing if not deterred.
He said while racism only existed in small groups, radicalism, militancy and extremism were more widespread.