November 22, 2014 – Reported by Malay Mail Online – KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 ― There is an alleged market for securing refugee status through illegitimate means in Malaysia, with United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) cards being sold for thousands of ringgit, according to an Al-Jazeera investigation report.
Steve Chao, senior presenter for Al-Jazeera’s Asian current affairs programme 101 East who carried out a covert investigation claimed refugee communities in the country have paid anything from RM1,700 to RM3,500 for each card, allegedly brokered by UNHCR officials in Malaysia.
“UNHCR’S head Richard Towle says he has heard of such illegal activities, and that if a complaint is brought forward, it is investigated by an independent body out of Geneva,” Chao told Malay Mail Online in an email interview last night.
“Sources inside the UNHCR office in Malaysia tell us that an investigation has been conducted specifically looking at fraudulent activities of UNHCR staff. Towle also confirmed that for a period this year, all resettlement of refugees was suspended in Malaysia due to the investigation into fraudulent practices,” he added.
Chao ― whose exclusive “Malaysia’s Unwanted” first aired on the Qatar-based news broadcaster’s channel on Astro earlier this morning ― had gone undercover to visit the immigration detention centre in the national capital, posing as a priest to check on the abysmal conditions that refugees and asylum seekers have to endure…