Saturday, June 25, 2011

Abbott MP Scott Morrison Met with Rohingya Refugees in Malaysia

Malaysia backdown on Abbott MP Scott Morrison

Geoff Chambers in Kuala Lumpur, The Daily Telegraph June 25, 2011 12:00AM
scott morrison

Banned ... Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison / Pic: AAP Source: AAP

MALAYSIAN officials backed down overnight and will now allow shadow immigration spokesman Scott Morrison to visit detention centres and meet key senior officials.

Mr Morrison got confirmation from the Malaysian home ministry last night, they will now meet him and he will also be able to visit the detention centre near KLIA Airport Meetings with Malaysian government officials will now take place late Monday afternoon.

It's understood Mr Morrison met with Royhinga refugees last night.

He arrived in Kuala Lumpur yesterday morning for a "first-hand look" at how illegal refugees are treated in Malaysia ahead of the Gillard government's plan for a refugee swap.

But his visit was at first not welcomed with the Malaysian government refusing to let him visit Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, who had mocked Mr Morrison's visit.

Instead, the MP visited a local Chin community before meeting the Australian High Commission and refugee advocates.

Earlier, Mr Morrison had heard a boat of 65 asylum seekers and two crew were being taken to Christmas Island yesterday after they were intercepted off Australia's coast.

Those refugees will join the 275 detained and in limbo with no deal officially signed between PM Julia Gillard and Malaysia.

"The key point of this visit for me is to compare education, health and general living conditions for refugees in Malaysia compared with Nauru, where I have also visited," Mr Morrison said.

Travelling with two staffers, he hit back at government MPs who called his 6600km trip a "stunt". "People who have watched these refugee programs on television have told me to watch them. Well I've gone one step further and I've actually come to see for myself what is going on here," he said.

Refugees declined to show Mr Morrison their UNHCR identification cards which often do not stop them from being considered "illegal" by police and sent to prison.

Source: The Daily Telegraph

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