Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) welcomes the positive change in direction by Minister Mohd Redzuan Mohd Yusof and the clarification Uighur refugees in Malaysia will not be refouled and extradited to China.
The assurance by the minister is a positive turn from the abysmal stance in addressing the rights of asylum seekers and refugees in the early phase of the Movement Control Order (MCO) where the government endorsed and enabled the persecution of asylum seekers and refugees and fail to take action against misinformation that targets Rohingya community.
The protection of asylum seekers and refugee from refoulement cannot be on arbitrary in nature and must be consistent on the part of the government. Refoulement may be a simple act of deportation on Malaysia’s part but could lead to the death or unlawful detention of asylum seekers or refugee in their home country. In April 2019, Malaysia’s decision to deport four Egyptian asylum seekers was swiftly followed by news that the four Egyptians went missing after their arrival in Cairo, Egypt.
The Malaysian government must learn from its earlier mistakes formalize its policy on the matter and ensure that asylum seekers and refugees registered or under investigation by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees will not be deported or extradited and be provided with the due recognition in law to ensure their safety within Malaysia.