UNHCR probes allegations of fraud in processing refugees documents in Malaysia

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KUALA LUMPUR – NThe United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Friday in Kuala Lumpur, that it was investigating allegations of fraud in the processing of asylum seekers documents in Malaysia.
Yante Ismael, Spokeswoman for the UNHCR Malaysia Office, said the allegations are being treated very seriously.
She said a media report indicated that some asylum seekers have paid between 500-1,000 dollars for a refugee card that legitimises their stay in Malaysia.
“The reporter went undercover, posing as a priest during a visit to an immigration detention centre in Kuala Lumpur,’’ she said.
Ismael said she could not provide details about the UNHCR probe because it was “an ongoing investigation.”
She said more than 150,000 refugees and asylum seekers are registered with UNHCR in Malaysia, of which 93 per cent are from Myanmar, including members of the Muslim Rohingya minority.
Ismael acknowledged that UNHCR’s current mechanism to process asylum seekers in Malaysia was no longer viable due to the high numbers seeking asylum in the country.
“For several months, we have started to adjust some of the processes to make them more effective,” she said. (dpa/NAN)

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