• Crisis Severity ?
    1.8
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    1.5
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    1.6
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    2.3
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    2.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Overview

06/04/2021

Malaysia hosts 178,000 refugees and asylum seekers, the majority of whom are in Selangor state, Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory, and Pulau Pinang state. Over 154,000 are from Myanmar, including 102,000 Rohingya. The remaining 24,000 are people from over 50 countries – including Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and Afghanistan – who are seeking asylum and refugee status in Malaysia after fleeing war and persecution. 68% of refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia are men and 32% are women. ?

Malaysia is not signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention nor the 1967 protocol, and there is no domestic legislation in place that recognises the legal status of asylum seekers, refugees, or stateless people. The UNHCR has the mandate to register and determine the status of asylum seekers and refugees in Malaysia in need of humanitarian assistance, but this does not determine their legal status. This places them at the margins of society, with limited access to healthcare, education, and formal work opportunities. Being able to walk to work is fundamental for asylum seekers and refugees, because of limited livelihood means to meet even basic needs such as paying for transport. They are also at heightened risk of arrest, detention, and exploitation.?

No official refugee camp exists and the majority of refugees live in urban areas, where they have established strong support networks within their communities.Two types of housing categories exist: “jungle sites” and “urban sites”. In jungle sites, refugees lack access to clean water and sanitation, and are at heightened risk of dengue and malaria. In urban sites, living areas are often overcrowded, heightening the risk of sexual and gender-based violence. There is limited humanitarian support, with COVID-19 adding a considerable burden on asylum seekers and refugees by limiting livelihood opportunities and freedom of movement.?

Latest Developments

06/04/2021

No significant recent humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.

Key concerns

06/04/2021

Gender-based violence (GBV): Instances of GBV against women are widespread, including in detention centres. Because of a lack of documentation, asylum seekers and refugees facing GBV avoid reporting any violations to the national authorities out of fear of reprisal over their legal status.?

Protection concerns: As refugees and asylum seekers are in an irregular situation, they are at high risk of forced deportation, arrest, and exploitation. When arrested, they are often placed in overcrowded cells. Because of unsanitary conditions in the cells and a lack of access to medical assistance, they are exposed to the risk of skin and respiratory diseases.?