Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin has told the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as well as human rights groups not to interfere in Malaysia’s affairs in deporting Myanmar nationals back to their home country.
He said that foreigners being detained and sent back to their country of origin meant they had violated Malaysian laws.
"Not just Myanmar or any particular country, but anyone from anywhere in the world who comes here and breaks our laws, we will send them back... when it’s time to send them back, we will.
"So, UNHCR, the United Nations, or anyone at all – if the people we detain entered the country legally but then violate our laws, we will send them back. No need for outsiders to interfere," he said at a press conference in Kota Bharu today.
He said this when asked to comment on calls by the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) for the government to stop repatriating political asylum seekers as it would put their lives in danger.
He said he understood that there were foreigners who came to the country as refugees and political asylum seekers.
"We also understand and are aware that, in terms of humanity, we will not send back people who may 'disappear' in their country of origin. We will not do things that can cause cruelty to individuals who are sent back," he said.
On the proposal to close the UNHCR office, Hamzah said the matter was still under review.
"We are reviewing it and will make a decision on whether or not the UNHCR should be here. As a dignified country, I must take care of our country first before taking care of outsiders," he said.