KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will ask Bangladesh to take back about 300 Rohingya refugees detained after a boat carrying them entered its waters this week, the southeast Asian nation’s defence minister said.
Malaysia does not recognise refugee status but has been a favoured destination for ethnic Rohingya, most of them Muslims, who fled a 2017 military-led crackdown in Myanmar, and more recently, squalid refugee camps in Bangladesh.
However, the Southeast Asian nation has said it will no longer accept Rohingya refugees as it has tightened border controls to rein in the coronavirus.
“The Rohingya should know, if they come here, they cannot stay,” the minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, told reporters.
Malaysia’s foreign ministry will ask Dhaka to take back the detained migrants if they were found to have fled camps in Bangladesh’s district of Cox’s Bazar, he added.