Fact Check : UNHCR Driving Licence For Malaysia

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Pictures of a UNHCR driving licence for Malaysia has been circulating on social media.

Are they real? Do they give refugees the right to drive in Malaysia? Here are the facts!


UNHCR Driving Licence For Malaysia : Does It Exist?

These two pictures of a UNHCR driving licence have been circulating on social media, with netizens questioning if it’s real, and evidence that refugees have the right to drive vehicles.

  • Fact Check : UNHCR Driving Licence In Malaysia
  • Fact Check : UNHCR Driving Licence In Malaysia

Some immediately claim that the pictures have been obviously photoshopped or edited from the real UNHCR refugee card. This is what we know so far…

Fact #1 : The Pictures Are Most Likely Genuine

Despite claims that it looks “so photoshopped”, we cannot see any obvious signs of photo editing. Neither could we locate the original image from which it could be edited.

But we don’t blame them for thinking so. The grammar is rather bad :

  • Lesen Memandu / Pelarian
  • Driving Licence UNHCR
  • Motor Cycle

Fact #2 : The UNHCR Driving Licence Is Fake

While the pictures are most likely real, the UNHCR driving licence is fake.

On 1 May 2020, JPJ issued an official press release stating that any driving licence issued by the UNHCR is illegal.

UNHCR followed up with their own press release on 2 May 2020, stating that it is fake, and they do NOT issue driving licences.

Fact #3 : There Are Criminal Enterprises Offering Fake Malaysian Documents

There are criminal enterprises that prey on desperate people, including refugees, by offering them fake Malaysian documents like passports, MyKad, driving licences. Here is one example :

Fake Malaysian documents offer

It is conceivable that these criminal enterprises may be selling fake driving licences that look similar to UNHCR refugee cards.

Again, UNHCR do not issue driving licences, but victims of document counterfeiters may not know that.


Fake UNHCR Driving Licence In Malaysia : Caution

We should point out that in recent months, there has been a steady stream of fake news about refugees in Malaysia.

While these pictures may be real, we need to point out that the pictures were shared without context.

So we don’t actually know, for example, if this card was taken from a refugee at a roadblock, or confiscated from a counterfeiter using it as a sample.

Those who posted them did not seem to know what happened. Most merely questioned if they are real, and if refugees really have the right to drive vehicles in Malaysia.

If anyone knows who took these pictures, or how they came across this card, we would very much love to know all about it.


The Official JPJ Statement

Here is the English translation :

UNHCR Driving Licence Not Valid For Driving Vehicles In Malaysia

The Malaysian Road Transportation Department (JPJ) would like to stress that UNCHR Driving Licences used by UNHCR card holders are not valid for driving any types of motorised vehicles in Malaysia. This is in line with the Road Transportation Act 1987.

In addition, based on the press statement by the Ministry of Home Affairs dated 30 April 3030, UNHCR card holders do not have any status, rights or basis to make any demands of the Malaysian government.

JPJ remains committed to ensuring that the rule of law is always protected and never compromising on any violation of traffic rules.

JPJ Statement


The Official UNHCR Statement

This is the official UNHCR statement on the issue :

We have seen news articles today reporting about driving licenses for refugees allegedly issued by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

This document is false. The UNHCR Representation in Malaysia does not issue driving licences.

We wish to further stress that UNHCR only issues refugee identity cards in the country, which serves to verify that the card holder is a refugee requiring international protection and cannot be forcibly sent to a country where their lives or freedom may be at risk. Our cards do not accord any other right to the bearer including the right to drive vehicles in the country.


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