KUALA LUMPUR: Federal GovernÂment facilities and premises will be used to house the Rohingya miÂÂgrants in Penang, said Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The Home Minister, who on Sunday challenged Penang to be the â€œchampion of human rights it claims to beâ€ by giving shelter to stranded Rohingya and BanglaÂdeshis, said yesterday they had come to this arrangement.
â€œIt would be better if leaders who have been human rights champions translate what they have been calling for on the political stage and in the Dewan Rakyat into action instead of passing the burden to other parties,â€ he said.
Speaking at a press conference at the Parliament lobby yesterday, Dr Ahmad Zahid said his statement on Sunday was a humanitarian and not political one.
His statement came after Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had asked for the migrants to be sheltered in Federal-owned land, saying the state lacked space and had not been consulted by the National Security Council.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said several loÂcations besides Penang had been identified as temporary sites for the stranded migrants and insisted that the DAP-led state take them in.
â€œWe want to see the sincerity of the Penang government, led by DAP that are partners with PKR and PAS, who claim to champion human rights and are always asking the Government to adopt humanitarian policies.
â€œThe Home Ministry and UNHCR have to take the necessary steps to find suitable, legal steps to house the Rohingyas in a third country. We know Turkey is willing to take them in,â€ he said.
In Alor Setar, NSC secretary Datuk Thajudeen Abdul Wahab said immigration depots would be used as a temporary solution to house the Rohingya migrants.
â€œThe depot in Belantik is almost full but there are others in Penang.
â€œBut we have yet to decide wheÂther to use or expand them or even build emergency centres,â€ he said on the sidelines of the Asean ReÂgional Forum Disaster Relief ExerÂÂcise yesterday.
â€œAny temporary shelter will have to be in the northern part of the country to minimise the need to transport the migrants,â€ he said.
Thajudeen said it would be easier to move those already at the detention centre in Kedah to other facilities in northern states.
Malaysia and Indonesia recently agreed to continue humanitarian aid for about 7,000 migrants who are adrift in South-East Asian waters.