Friday, September 13, 2013

Burmese labour minister urged to fight for migrants in Malaysia




Burma’s Labour Minister Aye Myint arrived on Monday evening in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur where he and his government delegation met with Burmese rights groups to discuss the current issues surrounding a crackdown by Malaysian police on migrant workers.

San Win, the chairperson of the Malaysia-Myanmar Free Funeral Service, said the meeting took place at the Darby Park Hotel, and that Aye Myint vowed he would help secure the return of Burmese nationals who wished to go home in the wake of the crackdown in which some 550 Burmese migrants have been detained.

The labour minister also reportedly said that he would raise the issue with Malaysian immigration authorities, as well as the question of high rates of tax that Burmese migrants are often expected to pay.

San Win said the meeting with Aye Myint was short because of a flight delay, however the rights group took the opportunity to brief him about a lack of security for Burmese migrant workers in Malaysia. He cited the case of six Burmese nationals who were killed during the latest bout of violence which allegedly was an offshoot of communal clashes in Burma between Buddhists and Muslims.

“There has been one murder every month since then, and none of the cases have ever been solved,” he said.

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“We urged the minister to pressure the Malaysian authorities regarding this issue, while other migrant groups brought up the matter of Burmese girls being raped in central Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

He said the minister was also informed about how Burmese migrants were being cheated in the process of applying for work permits and other paperwork.

The delegation was due to visit the Malaysian Home Affairs Ministryon Tuesday, as well as a factory where many Burmese migrants work.

Yan Naing Htun of the Centre for Protection of Burmese Migrant Workers said he did not think the delegation’s visit would bear any fruit.

“I don’t think anything will come out of this since the Burmese embassy in Malaysia is not doing the job they are supposed to do – because they are afraid [of the Malaysian authorities],” he said.

Local newspapers on Tuesday reported that a 20-year-old Burmese worker had died when he jumped out of an eight-story building during the crackdown.