Syrian refugees arrive in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, May 28 (IANS) Syrian refugees arrived on Saturday at the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) airbase as the country welcomed its second batch of migrants from the war-torn country.

A total of 68 people, mostly families, disembarked from a chartered plane at the air base in Subang, 20 km west of capital Kuala Lumpur, EFE news reported.

It was the second batch of refugees received by the country after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak pledged at the UN General Assembly in October 2015 to accept 3,000 Syrians over the next three years to help ease the refugee crisis.

The refugees, who had flown from the Bekaa Valley Camp in Lebanon, were welcomed by NGOs and politicians including Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who said the government had initially targeted 150 Syrians but that only 68 passed health and security checks, the Star Online reported.

He said that the migrants would be housed in Malaysia on a temporary basis, with adults given temporary work permits and children given student visas, until the situation in Syria stabilized.

The government is currently screening more migrants at the Lebanon refugee camp as it aims to welcome another 200 Syrians during the Ramadan fasting month, which begins next week.

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