Malaysia wants to work with UN refugee agency on biometric database
31 July 2017 09:54 GMT

Malaysia is seeking access to a UN refugee agency's database to fight militancy, and is considering the establishment of a biometric system to track incomers.

Senior officials said this week that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) should share its database of some 150,000 refugees and asylum seekers, while bemoaning that the system is not biometrics-enabled.

"They [UNHCR] have issued cards but the home ministry is not involved in the process of vetting at all. They don't collect biometric data. So it doesn't help our enforcement effort especially on transnational crime, human trafficking and terrorism. So we want to know whether any IS links have penetrated, their numbers."

Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan told Channel NewsAsia his ministry is considering going directly to the refugee communities to collect their biometrics for its own security system that includes facial recognition.

"The refugee numbers reported by UNHCR keeps increasing. And since the Malaysian public now is very concerned about the presence and high numbers of foreigners, it's time the government identifies and closes all loopholes where they can enter. And the UNHCR route is one of them," the deputy minister said.