SHAH ALAM, Feb 14 (Bernama) — Syrian refugees brought into the country are required to undergo security screening to ensure they are not Daesh terrorists or involved in militant activities, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
He said the screening would be carried out through the Advance Passenger Screening System (APSS) with the cooperation of Interpol and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
“We are taking this move to check the background of the refugees concerned to see if they are directly, or indirectly, involved, for example as Daesh terrorists,” he told reporters after launching the Malaysia MAD Velocifero mini electric scooter here today.
He was asked on measures taken by the government to ensure the Syrian refugees in the country were not members of the Daesh militant group.
In October last year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, when addressing the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, announced that Malaysia would open its doors to 3,000 Syrian migrants over the next three years to help with its refugee crisis.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said five Syrian refugee families had been brought into the country under the first phase and the government was now in the process of bringing the second group of Syrian migrants.
“We will give priority to Syrian students in Malaysia who want to bring their families here, families of Syrian workers working in Malaysia, like chef in restaurants, and families of professionals, like medical doctors and those in the field of engineering,” he added.
On the decision to bring in 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers to Malaysia, Ahmad Zahid reiterated that it was a decision made based on market demand.
The government was only accommodating the needs of employers, he added.
“It is not because the government wants to collect levy or to reduce employment opportunity for the Malaysian people, but in certain sectors, the Malaysian people do not want to work, like in plantation and construction,” he added.