Malaysia to hire Rohingya refugees

The Malaysian government has finalised a plan to employ Rohingya refugees, an ethnic Muslim minority group that faces growing discrimination in Myanmar, official sources said on Thursday.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said in a statement that the programme will start on March 1 and place 300 Rohingyas -- whose vulnerable situation has been recognised by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) -- in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors.

Currently, Malaysia is looking after 149,474 refugees registered with the UNHCR, out of which 55,565 are Rohingyas, according to official figures.

Ahmad, who met UNHCR representatives on Thursday in Putrajaya, said the initiative will allow those hired to earn money and receive professional training which will be useful to them when they are relocated to third countries.

More than a million Rohingyas live in Rakhine, where they have suffered discrimination since the outbreak of sectarian violence in 2012 that left at least 160 people dead, and since then around 120,000 of them have lived severely restricted lives in 67 camps.

Myanmar does not recognise the Rohingyas as citizens, but terms them Bangladeshi immigrants, and imposes multiple constraints on them, including restrictions on movement. Dhaka also considers them foreigners.

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