Fears of attacks and crackdowns loom at Selayang
KUALA LUMPUR, 25 January 2016 — Burmese nationals in Kuala Lumpur, especially Selayang, are living in fear after news on possible attacks from local thugs and large scale operations by police have been circulated through social and printed media.
Several social and religious organizations, including churches, have warned their members to stay away from the Selayang market, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur after a fight there had triggered massive police operations.
Quoting a source from the Burmese Embassy in Malaysia, a Christian church in Kuala Lumpur reminds its congregation to avoid Selayang for the time being.
“The Embassy of Burma has alerted all Burmese nationals to stay away from Selayang. Let’s pray for the situation and do avoid going there if it is not necessary,” according to a message printed in the church’s weekly bulletin.
A local newspaper also reported that attacks involving local Indian thugs and Burmese nationals on 13 January have triggered large scale operations by police to track down those involved and to ensure no further clashes occur.
The January fight at the market had left two Burmese nationals, including a two-year-old baby, injured and one Malaysian dead.
It is believed that a long-running feud between migrant workers from Burma and local thugs had led to the gang fight.
The same market, which is also known by the locals as KL’s Little Burma, was in tension in 2013 when several clashes and killings between Buddhists and Muslims from Burma were reported. The clashes were often thought to have correlated with ethnic conflict in Arakan State, Burma.
Following those clashes, Malaysian police had rounded up more than 900 Burmese nationals.
Clashes in 2013 also affected the Chin community, with some of them fleeing their homes at Selayang for a few days. – Reporting by Thomas Chong