Malaysia has not ratified the 1952 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol. Neither has the Malaysian government enacted national legislation recognizing the legal status of refugees.

Conversely, the Malaysian Immigration Act 1959/63 (Act 155) considers refugees “illegal immigrants”. The lack of a broad rights based protection framework for managing refugee flows, refugee status determinations (RSDs) and refugee interventions results in aggressive and punitive approaches by the State that include their arrest, detention, punishment (including whipping), and deportation. The vulnerability of refugees and asylum seekers increases during periods of ‘crackdowns’ when the government raids their homes and workplace in attempts to curtail irregular migration.

To understand more about the The Issues faced by refugees in Malaysia, click here.

To read Witness Accounts of real life refugee stories in Malaysia, click here.