Myanmar wants to repatriate illegal workers in Malaysia after spate of suicides

 Rohingya refugees being checked during a Covid-19 operation in Kuala Lumpur recently.

PETALING JAYA: Myanmar has asked Malaysia for assistance in repatriating illegal workers following reports that eight suicides of undocumented migrants from the country had taken place.

The Irrawaddy news outlet today said thousands of unregistered Myanmar migrants are stranded in Malaysia without work due to Covid-19 and crackdowns against undocumented foreigners.

It reported that two Myanmar migrants had committed suicide in Kuala Lumpur over the past week and six others had taken their lives in late May and early June.

The news outlet said the director-general of Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, U Aung Myint, met Malaysian ambassador to Myanmar Zahairi Baharim yesterday to request Malaysia’s cooperation in returning undocumented workers from the country.

Aung Myint told Zahairi that Myanmar would send relief flights to bring undocumented Myanmar workers back if Malaysia approved. He also asked Malaysia not to fine those returning home.

Zahairi said he would refer the matter to Malaysia’s foreign affairs ministry.

Quoting a labour attaché at the Myanmar embassy in Kuala Lumpur, the Irrawaddy also reported that there are an estimated 250,000 undocumented Myanmar migrants in Malaysia, with an additional 300,000 legally in the country.

Earlier this month, it reported that Malaysia wanted to deport more than 3,000 people believed to be Myanmar nationals home after hundreds of detainees tested positive for Covid-19 in detention centres.

It said that Malaysia had informed the Myanmar embassy it had offered to provide charter flights to transport the detainees back to Myanmar.

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