by MAHATHIR MOHD RAIS
THERE have always been discussions about the advantages and disadvantages of the refugee situation in Malaysia. When we welcome refugees and provide them with the support they require, it reflects favourably on Malaysia.
However, the matter is debated when locals find it challenging to socialise with and accept these refugees’ lifestyles. The Rohingya refugees who arrived in Malaysia and requested assistance in the forms of protection and a place to live, for instance, are a subject that has stirred up the Internet in recent years.
There are several things the government could do to meet the needs of the citizens of our nation, while also providing aid to the refugees.
Firstly, the government should look into educating the citizens and the refugees in terms of the differences that exist under specific circumstances. For instance, the refugees must be taught about the boundaries that Malaysians appreciate.
The common issues are the cleanliness and the way the refugees converse with the locals. Locals find it to be disrespectful and unacceptable.
Either party cannot be held accountable because the problem is more a result of cultural differences than intentional. Thus by educating both parties, we could ensure that awareness could be raised to minimise the misunderstanding and mitigate the challenges of socialising and working with the refugees.
Secondly, I believe that there should be ground rules in terms of how long the migrants will be staying in our country. Despite Malaysia’s efforts to assist the refugees, the satisfaction of the citizens of our country depends in large part on their nationality and citizenship.
The reason is that a safe nationality and citizenship are essential components of Malaysia’s outstanding integrity. Malaysians take great pride in their heritage and culture. When refugees claim our nation as their home, it is important to identify their status and provide them with an official statement to instil in them a sense of patriotism for our nation.
In the long run, the discussions and conclusions on the job opportunities issue must also be addressed and settled as more and more people seek refuge in our country.
The government must first cater to Malaysians and fix internal economic issues in our country to increase job opportunities for the people of this country. Only when there are enough jobs can we increase the opportunities to give the refugees a chance to build their life here as well.
Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that an increasing number of individuals are being impacted by global changes, such as the passing of Queen Elizabeth and climate change.
More refugees will enter the country as a result of changes in the political and economic climate, which could lead to anarchy if not properly managed. As a result, the government must be ready for unforeseen events and outside influences in order to prevent chaos.
It won’t be long before the problem of refugees is hotly debated once more. To safeguard the welfare of our population, actions must be made in the political, economic and social spheres. This also exercises control and will make sure that the reputation of the nation is not tarnished because of a sensitive matter like this.
- Mahathir Mohd Rais is the information chief for National Alliance (Perikatan Nasional) Federal Teritories.