In Malaysia, Canadian and French officials have been interviewing Vietnamese who arrived off the Malaysian coast aboard the freighter Hai Hong on November 9th.
In Malaysia, Canadian and French officials have been interviewing Vietnamese who arrived off the Malaysian coast aboard the freighter Hai Hong on November 9th. The Malaysian Government has refused to acknowledge that the 2,500 Vietnamese aboard are genuine refugees, and has insisted that all be taken by other countries. Canada and France were the first nation to take positive steps to relieve the plight of those on board the Hai Hong.
SYNOPSIS: There are already 40,000 refugees in camps along the coast, and Malaysian authorities estimate more than 700 have been arriving each day for the past few weeks. There is no sign of a let-up despite monsoon weather sweeping the South China Sea. Now, the Malaysian Government, which says it is pushed to the limit in its assistance for the refugees, has announced tough measures to cope with what it calls the 'illegal' immigrants. The Government says vietnamese who pay for their passage out of the country, cannot be called genuine refugees.
Malaysia plans a special task force to prevent the refugees landing, to supervise transit camps, and to organise their resettlement in other countries. There is still no decision about the future of more than half those still aboard the Hai Hong. The leader of the Canadian team at Port Klang, Mr. Ian Hamilton described the problems to Michael Chrisman of Visnews.