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KUALA LUMPUR β€” The Malaysian Immigration Department conducted an operation on foreigners in the Selayang Wholesale Market at around 8.30 am yesterday where few hundreds of Rohingya refugees were inspected and released just after authenticating their UNHCR cards.

The raid was carried out in collaboration with the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) and the Health Ministry. Malaysian news media Bernama found that several trucks belonging to the PDRM and the Immigration Department left the area at around 11.30 am, believed to be ferrying illegal immigrants to a temporary detention depot.

Thousands of refugees and migrant workers were rounded up during immigration raids at Taman Siri Murni in Selayang. (Photo: Social Media)

At the beginning of the raid, the authority announced in hand-held mic, β€œPlease bring your all documents and covid19 test report (if have). Before coming down firmly lock your apartment. Please make sure your children are cleaned up before bringing them here and stay 3 feet away from each other in the queue. And follow our instruction.”

A Rohingya refugee who was inspected by the immigration authority during the raid said to Rvision, β€œI went down with my whole family (wife and 2 kids) once I heard the announcement from the authority and joined with others in a queue. Then, the authority checked one by one whether everyone has a valid document or not. After half an hour my turn came and I showed my UNHCR card to them. A few moments later the authority checked all the cards and released my whole family.”

Few Rohingya refugees were detained initially as their card got expired but released in the evening after receiving announcement that the UNHCR representation remains closed due to pandemic and expired UNHCR identity documents will remain valid till they are replaced.

Earlier, on 30th April, the Home Ministry of Malaysia responded with a statement as the hate campaign based on rumours against the Rohingya people rapidly spreads in Malaysia, in which the government of Malaysia reiterated that it has allowed UNHCR cardholders to stay temporarily in the country on humanitarian grounds before being placed in the third country by UNHCR.

Mr. Islam, a Rohingya activist, who has been taking temporary refuge in Malaysia, expressed his reaction to recent government statements, β€œWe don’t demand citizenship from Malaysia but Myanmar. We are grateful to Malaysia for being kind so far. We appeal to all Malaysian for strengthening us to get back our lost rights in Myanmar.”