As reported by Channel News Asia, Malaysia will begin the pilot project on 1 March, according to Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
He said this in a statement after chairing a high-level UNHCR meeting at his office in Putrajaya. The offer is only open
to Rohingya refugees who are UNHCR cardholders
and have done health and security screenings.
Successful applicants will be selected to work in plantation and manufacturing industries. The Deputy PM said this initiative was done to help address the human trafficking issue and prevent exploitation of the refugees in Malaysia.
We wrote about the seemingly two-tier system of refugees in Malaysia
and we spoke about the realities of the Rohingya refugees in Malaysia. We wrote in June 2016 that the Rohingya were not allowed to work and education was not allowed for their children. As of February 2017, we are still not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention.
This means that, as of October 2016
, 150,669 refugees in Malaysia still had no right to work, and 35,069 children here right now in Malaysia have gone without education. Providing work in plantations and manufacturing industries are a good first step
, but it is a salve on an open gaping wound in the refugee community. Long-term sustainable solutions are still needed if these 150,000 people are going to rise above their situation here in Malaysia.