More refugees fleeing Burma head for Malaysia
04 January 2013, KUALA LUMPUR – More undocumented migrants including Rohingya refugees from Burma are entering Malaysia via sea route after the outbreak of communal conflicts in Rakhine State.
Due to safety consideration, refugees from various part of Burma tend to use the land route via Thailand to enter Malaysia but current development has shown that more are choosing the sea as an alternative.
Rohingyas are known to sail from western Burma to Thailand before entering Malaysia through jungles and plantations between two countries. More Rohingyas, however, are doing the direct sail to avoid landing at Thailand.
Turbulence at Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal, besides lack of food and drinking water, however proved too hard to be endured and eventually cost lives.
More than 150 refugees were killed and went missing when two boats capsized at Bangladesh’s water on their journey to Malaysia in October and November last year.
On Christmas eve, Malaysian maritime enforcer arrested 125 undocumented migrants and another 500 on 30 December, both near to Langkawi Island, not far from the border with Thailand.
In the incident of 30th December, 500 refugees including children were forced to jump off from the boat to swim to the nearby shore to avoid detection. At least one drowned after not being able to finish the 500 meter distance.
Besides receiving refugees, Malaysia also becomes the transit point for refugees from Afghanistan and Iran who are heading to Australia via Indonesia.
Reporting by Thomas Chong