Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2017, 15:02 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Malaysia

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 25 May 2004
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Malaysia , 25 May 2004, available at: [accessed 21 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Malaysia hosted some 75,700 refugees and asylum seekers in 2003, including 57,000 Filipino Muslims who entered Malaysia the 1970s some 8,000 Indonesian asylum seekers and persons of concern mostly from Aceh. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recognized some 440 as refugees.

At least 10,000 Rohingya from Myanmar and 3,000 Acehnese from Indonesia remained in Malaysia at the end of 2003. Neither UNHCR nor Malaysia recognizes them as refugees. Because of persecution against these groups in their home countries, the U.S. Committee for Refugees counts them among refugees and asylum seekers in need of protection.


Malaysian authorities arrested 2,900 people, including asylum seekers, for immigration violations. Malaysia is not party to the UN Refugee Convention, has no asylum process, and does not distinguish between illegal immigrants and refugees. . Malaysia forcibly returned over 600 Indonesian Acehnese, including hundreds of UNHCR-recognized refugees and others who authorities denied access to UNHCR.

New Developments

In July, seven Myanmarese Rohingya men forced their way into the UNHCR office, seeking asylum. Some claimed to be activists and members of the group arrested in 2002 for staging a weeklong sit-in at the UNHCR office. Their status determinations were pending at year's end.

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