Malaysia to accept 3,000 Syrian refugees


New York: Malaysia will open its doors to 3,000 Syrian migrants over the next three years to help alleviate the refugee crisis, Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Thursday (Oct 1) at the United Nations General Assembly. 

Mr Najib said Muslim countries were partly responsible for ensuring the well-being of the marginalised Syrians fleeing their country in massive numbers, causing social and economic stresses in Europe.

"This is why Malaysia has taken, over the years, many people fleeing war, starvation and persecution," said Mr Najib. "We currently have hundreds of thousands of irregular migrants, and we took in more earlier this year when there was a dire humanitarian situation in the Andaman Sea."

It is reported that about four million Syrian refugees have fled into neighbouring countries since the start of the civil war in 2011. Mr Najib said new international solutions were needed to deal with the migration crisis. 

He said that "we must respect our common humanity" and the fleeing of millions of Syrians from their own country should be a world concern.

"For it is only when we transcend the silos of race and faith, only when we look at images of desperate migrants, the victims of extremists, and those whose lives are degraded by hunger and poverty – and see not strangers, but our brothers and sisters," said Mr Najib. "And it is only when we see that dreadful picture of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi washed ashore – and recognise our own children in that tragic boy’s innocent face – that we will act as our better selves."