PALESTINIANS PICK MALAYSIA TO LOOK FOR REFUGE
Last Updated: 2012-07-28
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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia July 28 (NNN-Bernama) -- More than 3,000 Palestinians who left their homeland following the brutality of the Zionist regime, have chosen Malaysia as the best country for temporary protection because they have confidence in the peace and political stability here.

Palestinian Cultural Organisation Malaysia (PCOM) chairman, Muslim Abu Umar said Malaysia became the best choice because not many Muslim countries were stable, but Malaysia had proven otherwise, where in the country, security was guaranteed.

"Although some of them have migrated to the United States (US), United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, many of them want to live in Malaysia because of the peace and stability of the country," he told Bernama, here today.

Muslim, 25, and four PCOM staff, could not possibly to return to their country for a long time unless a final decision was made by the international community on the brutality of the Israeli regime against the Palestinian people.

He said there were no Palestinian refugees in Indonesia although the country was home to the world's largest Muslim population, but Malaysia seemed the most capable of assuring the safety of the citizens as well as foreign citizens who took refuge here.

Muslim said the last time Palestinian refugees entered Malaysia was in 2006 when 92 individuals including children fled from Iraq after the Arab country was conquered by United Sates (US) troops and peace was increasingly jeopardised.

"We (PCOM) need support to help the 92 Palestinians. They escaped from Haifa (Palestine) which had been conquered by Israel, to the West Bank in 1948.

The heat of the battle then spread to the West Bank and forced them to seek refuge in Iraq before they migrated to Malaysia when war broke out in Iraq," he said.

Most refugees under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) status were not allowed to work which made it difficult for them while there were also Palestinians not having the proper documents to enable them to work.

"The Malaysian government and citizens have been of great assistance to us. The sick are charged a lower price at government hospitals and some Malaysians offered very affordable apartments or rooms for rent to Palestinian refugees who are mostly staying in Ampang and Penang," he said.

He said there were few minor issues though which could become a dilemma when it came to the costs incurred by Palestinian children to continue their studies in schools and the elderly who needed special treatments including surgery.

The situation in Palestine became difficult because the people were divided into two namely Fatah and Hamas, where Hamas won the election in 2006 but was not recognised as the legitimate government and the international community wanted Fatah to rule the country.

Muslim said the two political parties were attempting to cooperate in resolving the Palestine issues outside the country.

As Hamas was not recognised, it was not allowed to open its embassy but with permission from the Malaysian government, the group was allowed to establish PCOM that acted as an unoffical Hamas embassy which remained in power and
received the support from Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza.

"PCOM is not only a cultural organisation. We are trying hard to find resolutions to the problems of Palestinian refugees in this country through approaches and appeals to the non-governmental organisations (NGO), government agencies, political parties and others," he added.

He said the people or NGOs who wanted to offer help to Palestinian refugees in Malaysia, could contact PCOM at www.pcomalaysia.org or at facebook.com/pcom1.

-- NNN-BERNAMA