Malaysia asked to adhere to humanitarian obligations on deporting illegal immigrants

TENAGANITA, a Malaysia based NGO has called upon Malaysian government to adhere to its humanitarian and moral obligations as a UN member state, which compels us against deporting refugees and asylum seekers.

Malaysia should not ignore the plight of those fleeing from violence and persecution, and uphold our obligations to provide safe refuge for those in need, the organization said.

‘Aside from forced deportation of refugees and asylum seekers which infringe international law, a persistent phenomenon of trafficking and exploitation of these individuals at the borders under the guise of deportation continues, including the involvement of enforcement officers,’ TENAGANITA said in a statement.

It said that ‘there is a clear indication of where these issues significantly stems from. The question then is “what are we doing to tackle the root problem” and will our government effectively plan its efforts and strategies in an initiative to not just address this issue, but to tackle the prevalence of corruption and extortion at the ground-level and with the front liners of our nation.’

TENAGANITA statement endorsed by its executive director Glorene A Das said that despite enforcement efforts by the government to “flush out” undocumented individuals, otherwise known as PATI, these numbers continue to increase every year.

‘We would like to distinguish between the use of the term “illegal” and “undocumented”. No human being should ever be deemed illegal, as to lead a life of dignity is a basic human right, and labelling any individual as “illegal” is dehumanising at the very least.’

While Tenaganita fully acknowledges the presence of millions of undocumented persons in Malaysia as an issue which needs to be addressed, a more comprehensive approach is required in a more transparent manner, to tackle the issue effectively. This would require efforts beyond just among government agencies and ministries, involving stakeholders and experts who could provide the necessary insights and resources to create a truly holistic effort.

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