YANGON: State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to meet with Myanmar migrant workers when she visits Malaysia in August.
The Myanmar Times quoted government spokesperson U Zaw Htay as saying that two bilateral agreements on Myanmar migrant workers were expected to be signed during her visit.
“Both governments’ officials are still arranging the [exact] date and the labour ministry will arrange the trip,” he said. “The two labour ministers will be signing the memorandums of understanding.”
Myanmar migrant workers in Malaysia have welcomed the news of the state counsellor’s upcoming visit.
U Thiha Maung Maung, the head of a group that supports Myanmar’s prominent cleric Sitagu Sayadaw, was quoted as saying the state counsellor’s trip would improve the migrant workers’ situation as it would allow her to see their problems firsthand.
“Legal workers must get their rights and illegal workers must be allowed to become legal workers,” he said. “I believe our state counsellor’s trip will give us that opportunity. Malaysia’s Government will care about us after her trip. We believe that,” he told the Myanmar Times.
Ko Kyaw Zay Lwin, chair of the Joho Yadana Setka Free Funeral Service Organisation, said that the Myanmar embassy in Kuala Lumpur had met with about 50 Myanmar civil society organisations in the past to form a committee to protect the rights of Myanmar citizens.
Despite all the meetings, he said, the embassy had yet to approve the proposed taskforce.
He said the previous Myanmar Government did not protect their rights in Malaysia and hoped the new one would.
According to the report there are an estimated 500,000 to 700,000 Myanmar migrant workers in Malaysia, most of them without legal documents.
“Thousands of Myanmar migrants released from prison have been living in detention camps for years, unable to return to Myanmar without assistance,” Ko Kyaw Zay Lwin said. “The state counsellor’s trip will change that.”
The upcoming visit will be Suu Kyi’s third to Malaysia.