FB pixel

Malaysia asks UNHCR for refugee biometric data


The Malaysian government has called on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to share its database of approximately 150,000 refugees and asylum seekers registered in the country, which includes their biometric information, according to a report by Channel News Asia.

Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan said that the authorities are worried that some Islamic State (IS) militants may have entered Malaysia and obtained a refugee card issued by UNHCR in an effort to move freely within the country.

“They [UNHCR] have issued cards but the home ministry is not involved in the process of vetting at all,” Jazlan said. “They don’t collect biometric data. So it doesn’t help our enforcement effort especially on transnational crime, human trafficking and terrorism. So we want to know whether any IS links have penetrated, their numbers.

“But the refugee numbers reported by UNHCR keeps increasing. And since the Malaysian public now is very concerned about the presence and high numbers of foreigners, it’s time the government identifies and closes all loopholes where they can enter. And the UNHCR route is one of them.”

Jazlan said that organized crime organizations smuggle in IS suspects over the Thai border in trucks, which is why the Malaysian government is especially concerned with tracking individuals coming from Thailand.

He said his ministry has not gotten sufficient cooperation from UNHCR to implement the Proof of Concept (POC) program, launched on April 1, to vet 150,000 UNHCR refugees in the country.

“They have agreed in principle but fail to give details of refugees as per mutual agreement. And they are not cooperating and slowing down the process,” Jazlan said, adding that his ministry is contemplating visiting the refugee communities themselves to collect biometrics for its own verification system that includes facial recognition.

According to the “figures at a glance” listed on the UNHCR website, there are approximately 149,200 refugees and asylum seekers registered with the agency in Malaysia as of June.

Ninety percent of them stem from Myanmar, while 16,700 are from other countries including Pakistanistan, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel.

Last year, the UNHCR rolled out its new ID card and card verification mobile application for refugees in order to combat identity fraud and counterfeiting.

Article Topics

 |   |   |   | 

Latest Biometrics News


Biometrics deployments expand protection against fraud and lying about your age

Biometrics are protecting against false claims of all sorts in several of the most-read articles of the past week on…


UN says law enforcement should not use biometrics to surveil protestors

Law enforcement agencies should not use biometric technology to categorize, profile or remotely identify individuals during protests, the United Nations…


How to explain the EUDI Wallet? Industry and citizens discuss Europe’s digital ID

The European Digital Identity (EUDI) Wallet is well on its way towards becoming a reality. To explain the major impact…


Decentralize face authentication for control, stronger protection: Youverse

The implementation method of biometric face authentication has become increasingly important in recent years due to the limitations of traditional…


Researchers develop display screens with biometric sensor capabilities

Traditional display screens like those built into smartphones require extra sensors for touch control, ambient light, and fingerprint sensing. These…


Meta, porn industry and Kansas governor weigh in on age verification

As Europe mulls how to restrict access to certain content for minors, Meta offers its own solution. Meanwhile, U.S. states…


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most Read From This Week

Featured Company

Biometrics Insight, Opinion

Digital ID In-Depth

Biometrics White Papers

Biometrics Events