Operation: Opération: Malaysia



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Key Figures

2017 year-end results
74,000 new UNHCR identity cards were issued
22,600 people were registered
5,470 merged registration and RSD decisions were taken 
3,290 refugees benefited from resettlement
3,000 people of concern were released from immigration detention
133 community learning centres were supported, enabling more boys and girls to access education at different levels, particularly primary education
2018 planning figures
100% of targeted households’ basic needs will be met through multi-purpose cash grants
98% of people of concern will be registered on individual basis
75% of school-aged children will be enrolled in primary education
15,500 status determination decisions will be issued
8,500 people of concern will be released from immigration detention

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2017 241,438
2016 239,505
2015 246,270


[["Refugees",102849],["Refugee-like situation",990],["Asylum-seekers",47531],["Stateless",10068],["Others of concern",80000]]
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2017 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[20.14792774,18.700609605,19.68385869,18.52558777,16.59339717,17.94919554],"expenditure":[9.27775765,9.22236626,8.25204939,8.06779698,null,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[18.91642575,17.462795085,18.71080951,18.00827372,15.84174178,17.08860191],"p2":[1.23150199,1.23781452,0.97304918,0.51731405,0.75165539,0.86059363],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[8.89931743,8.40919325,7.57517327,7.72566217,null,null],"p2":[0.37844022,0.81317301,0.67687612,0.34213481,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019

Year-end Overview

Plan Overview

Working environment

Malaysia is not a party to the 1951 convention, to its 1967 protocol nor to the 1954 and 1961 Statelessness conventions. Furthermore, it has no national refugee law or policy framework. While legislation makes no explicit reference to refugees or asylum-seekers, any illegal entry or stay in the country is deemed punishable by law, with no exemptions for people of concern to UNHCR.
There are currently close to 149,500 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR in Malaysia and 12,350 stateless persons in West Malaysia.
UNHCR maintains a strong operational presence in the country and conducts all activities related to the registration, documentation, refugee status determination and solutions of and for refugees and asylum-seekers, with an increasing focus on community-based protection (including 47 cases referred by partners), particularly health, education and livelihoods.
Most refugees are de-facto integrated into the urban fabric of the Malaysian community as part of a larger, unregulated migrant economy of between four and five million people. Despite the socio-economic opportunities for refugees in Malaysia, the absence of legal status puts persons of concern to UNHCR at greater risk of detention, as well as heightened vulnerability to exploitation and abuse in the workforce, and generally poor health and education outcomes.

Key priorities

In 2018, UNHCR will focus on:
  • Assisting refugee communities to become more resilient and self-reliant in order to better shape solutions for themselves, in alignment with the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan;
  • Building community resilience through community-based protection that will be mainstreamed into all protection and assistance interventions. UNHCR will continue to train staff and partners on community-based protection approaches and models;
  • Prioritizing the identification of and support to individuals and groups with the highest protection needs and vulnerabilities, including registration of those in detention, unaccompanied and separated children, victims of SGBV, isolated communities, LGBTI and trafficking victims;
  • Increasing registration coverage and robust decision-making in relation to refugee status determination. Increased school enrollment for primary school children and expanding the medical insurance scheme to cover all persons of concern. Ensuring that SGBV prevention and response programmes are fully integrated within communities.