Kuala Lumpur – Two opposition lawmakers filed an emergency motion to debate the alleged inhumane treatment of refugees, including children, in an immigration detention centre, which was revealed by a foreign media agency recently.
Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut) and Ong Kian Meng (DAP-Serdang) in a joint motion, said that it is urgent and important for the Home Ministry to respond to the four main allegations revealed in the documentary, which violates both local and international laws.
“The Al-Jazeera documentary ‘101 East: Malaysia’s Unwanted’ showed a child confined in the immigration detention centre which was not named.
“This was not denied by Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar when asked about the children of refugees shown in the documentary.
“Placing children in detention violates the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Malaysia has signed,” Lim told a press conference in Parliament today.
He said among others, the documentary also revealed the horrendous conditions and exploitation of refugees by the police and immigration enforcement officers.
“The detainees are forced to strip naked and are beaten by the enforcement officers. They also alleged that these officers have demanded for bribes either during operations or in detention,” Lim said.
Pointing out that the documentary was aired on Nov 19 and was also reported in the media prior to that, the Home Ministry has not responded on this strong video evidence of the detention centre.
Echoing Lim’s call, Ong said Wan Junaidi’s initial response was that the children of refugees are kept with them in detention because the officers do not want to separate parents from their children.
“You don’t have to separate the parent and child. You can put them in a safer environment or send them back to their countries.
“Many of the refugees seen in the detention centre are from Asean countries and it is only fair that the government responds to this serious matter, which is not only of public interest but of international interest, before Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak chairs the Asean Summit next year,” he said.
Lim also said that the statistics of foreign workers in Malaysia has rose to over 6.7million according to the Human Resource Ministry and this includes illegal immigrants.
“The statistics of refugees in Malaysia, according to the United Nations, is over 260,000 and over 40,000 from this total are stateless. The government must respond to this matter,” he said. – TheSunDaily