KUALA LUMPUR: The arrest of a 15-year-old Rohingya refugee here has sparked displeasure among non-governmental associations (NGOs) in Malaysia.
The boy was apprehended and brought to the Sepang magistrate’s court on Jan 25 and was charged under section 6(1)(c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 for not possessing a valid United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) identification card.
Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia (PPIM) president Datuk Nadzim Johan questioned why a child was taken to a magistrate’s court and not to a juvenile court.
“It is recognised that this Act provides for the care and protection of children under all circumstances, without regard for their background,” he told reporters at a press conference here yesterday.
On behalf of other NGOs, Nadzim urged that charges against the boy be dropped and that he is released and given assistance by related agencies, and provided with a valid UNHCR identification card.
“Malaysia… must help asylum seekers (like him) and make them useful to the country by providing them education and jobs,” he added.