In Malaysia refugees are not the political issue they have become in Australia. Most Malaysians are preoccupied with domestic economic woes and the curtailment of their civil liberties under an increasingly authoritarian and corrupt government. This highlights a key problem for Australia - its draconian border control policies rely on our neighbours being compliant partners and at the same time makes Australia beholden to (some of) their demands. Thus Australia has been largely silent on human rights abuses in countries that are crucial for the Pacific solution II. In Malaysia foreign labour contracts are big business and refugees (alongside other undocumented immigrants) are a necessary cheap labour force to keep the Malaysian economy moving. The government is not willing or able to regularise them because that would diminish their ability to earn money from legal immigrant labour. Following two refugees from the Rohingya and Chin community (both from Myanmar) I want to highlight - the difficulties and opportunities refugees have in Malaysia and - why some can't wait to get to Australia by any means and others want to stay in Malaysia. - Why some are choosing to return to Myanmar and - how migration in the region requires leadership based on the common good rather than narrow national self interest.
Starts: Oct. 5, 2016, 6:30 p.m.
Where: The Alderman (upstairs) 134 Lygon St, East Brunswick
Refugees in Malaysia: Economic, mixed and survival migrationOct. 5, 2016 Lecturer: Gerhard Hoffstaedter
presentation - 45 minutes, open discussion - 45 minutes