Updating to correct info in headline, grafs 1, 4
KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 – The Home Ministry together with the enforcement agencies under its wings as well as other ministries aims to reach out to 178,000 refugees, whose whereabouts remain unknown to the ministry, with the aim of vaccinating them, said its minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin in a press conference streamed live through the Royal Malaysian Police Facebook today.
He said there were 2.5 million documented foreigners in the country who would be offered to be vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus as part of efforts to reach at least a 70 percent herd community in the country.
This will not be immediate but it will be done according to the phases that have been set under the country’s national immunisation programme, he said.
The ministry through the police force and other enforcement agencies will work closely with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation to facilitate the vaccination for all the foreigners in the country, he said.
Responding to a claim from the UNHCR that there were more than 178,000 refugees in the country, he said the ministry did not have the list of where the refugees are staying although it was a big number to have received permit to stay in the country. He added he would be happy to get the list from UNHCR.
“We do not have the list. We don’t know where they are. We don’t know where they stay,” he said.
On the vaccination for foreigners, he said it would be important that all living in Malaysia, whether locals or foreigners would have to be vaccinated.
We will provide those names out to MOSTI, when the time comes for them to be vaccinated to ensure that all documents are in place and they are verified for the vaccination process.
On the breakdown of the 2.5 million documented foreigners in the country, he said permanent residents accounted for 268,419, while 8,801 had temporary stay as according to the National Registration Department.
Another 22, 581 had been given permits by the Immigration Department to enter the country.
Another 8,271 had residents pass while students accounted for 36,559.
Those married to Malaysians and with spouse visit pass accounted for 170,812.
Another 38,393 of them had social visit passes and another 30,727 came under the Malaysia My Second Home passes.
Expatriates accounted for 96,623 including their families.
Those with temporary work permit, including those sponsored by the employers accounted for 1.4 million.
He said there were also another 10,815 foreigners in local jails and another 19,833 detained in Immigration department’s depot.
There are also 136,005 foreigners in Sabah documented and holding various cards given in the state.
However, the work will not end here for the ministry as there are the undocumented foreigners and the ministry has undertaken several measures to identify them and keep a check on their presence in the country.
Under the ministry’s recalibration, repatriation programme, the ministry has also given undocumented foreigners to report themselves and be given the chance to return home or have sponsors so that they can get their documents and continue to work in the country.
There are also many problems caused by the undocumented foreigners ranging from social, health, security and economy, he said. These include electricity theft, occupying land illegally, and undertaking activities that pollute the environment.
He said the ministry wanted to know that they can return home and that they will engage their respective embassies to send back those who want to go home.
In the past six months 100,000 foreigners have been repatriated, he added.