April 13, 2021

Mini-exodus of Burmese nationals from Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, 15 December 2016 – Many migrant workers from Burma, particularly the non-Muslims, have resigned and left Malaysia with the worsening of relationship between the two countries.

Malaysian Small and Medium Enterprises Association President Michael Kang said many Burmese workers chose to leave the country after being persuaded by family members who were concerned about their safety in Malaysia.

He said the exodus of Burmese workers, however, had not caused serious manpower shortages in the industry.

“The plantation and manufacturing sectors are facing shortage of workers for a long time, with or without the exodus of Burmese workers.

“The government must tackle the problem of labor shortage,” he told a Malaysian daily, China Press.

Burma’s government has stopped sending workers to Malaysia after the country’s leaders including its Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak voiced out against human rights violations involving the Rohingya in Arakan State of Burma.

On 4 December, Najib and many political leaders joined Rohingya refugees in Malaysia to protest against Burma’s government at a public park in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysian mainstream media also accused Burma’s government, including the State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, of the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya in Arakan.

In 2014, many Burmese workers also left Malaysia after brutal killings were reported among the community. The murdering of several Burmese nationals in Malaysia was linked to ethnic clashes in Arakan State of Burma.

During that time, parents who heard about the killings involving Burmese nationals urged their children to return to Burma. – Reporting by Tom Tuan Peng

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