41 Myanmar workers caught celebrating ‘Songkran’ handed over to Immigration

A video grab of a group of workers dancing and singing to celebrate ‘Thingyan’, similar to the Thai Songkran festival, at a factory.

PETALING JAYA: Forty-one Myanmar nationals who were fined RM1,000 each for celebrating the “Thingyan” (Songkran) festival at their workers’ hostel last week, have been handed over to the Immigration authorities.

Lawyer G Rajasingam said the 41 were freed after settling their fines but were handed over to the Immigration Department as ordered by the court yesterday.

Another lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they would be held at an immigation depot and could be deported to their country later.

“Their work permits could be cancelled before sending them back home,” he said.

The court had ordered the accused to pay the fine or spend one month in prison for breaching the movement control order (MCO).

The workers, aged between 19 and 34, had pleaded guilty under Rule 6(1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations.

They committed the offence on April 12 at the Kilang Hartalega hostel here.

The penalty is a maximum RM1,000 fine or six months’ jail or both.

A 30-minute video clip shared on social media showed a group of foreign workers dancing and singing to celebrate “Thingyan”, which is similar to the Thai Songkran festival, at a factory.

Rajasingam, who took four hours to mitigate for each of the 41 accused, said his clients’ cases were not extreme as they were celebrating an event that had religious, social and cultural connotations.

“These cases were not in the same category as the three persons who were caught playing golf in Batu Gajah last week,” he said.

He said he had urged the court to impose a small fine as they had already spent six days in a police lock-up.

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