Written by Wallace Kew JiaRong and Chia Jia Xuan, third-year Bachelor of Laws students from Universiti Malaya.
Edited by Cheng Xin Miao.
Reviewed by Chelsea Ho Su Ven.
This article aims to shed light on the plight of refugees mounting from their dearth of legal status in Malaysia. Refugees in the country often find themselves in a vulnerable state. On one hand, they face potential salary reductions and other forms of exploitation from their employers. On the other hand, refugee children are deprived of their rights to formal education — the gateway to a brighter future, a chance to meliorate their life quality. Yet, when faced with iniquity, they are unable to defend themselves by legal means as they risk detention and deportation for their illegal immigrant status.
I. DEFINITION OF REFUGEES IN MALAYSIA
A refugee, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (‘UNHCR’), is a person who is situated outside their country of nationality or habitual residence and is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin — owing to a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.