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Burma’s Embassy in Malaysia is pushing local officials to provide its citizens with better protection after a series of violent assaults in Kuala Lumpur left at least three Burmese nationals dead.
According to interviews with the Burmese ambassador and reports from Malaysian media outlets, at least three people were murdered and several injured on separate occasions over the weekend, after mobs appeared to be targeting Burmese nationals.
“Myanmar Embassy in Malaysia being responsible to protect Myanmar citizens has asked the Foreign Ministry and police headquarters of the host country through diplomatic channels to protect Myanmar citizens,” read a report in Monday’s English edition of the state mouthpiece, The New Light of Myanmar.
According to Burma’s ambassador to Malaysia Tin Latt Ko, Malaysian authorities are still investigating the incidents and have beefed security in affected areas.
“An investigation is currently in place to find the assailants. We have sent the [Malaysian authorities] all the information we obtained, including CCTV footage,” said the ambassador during an interview with DVB.
“We are trying the best we can to push the police by feeding them any information we obtain via the Malaysian Foreign Ministry.”
Several of the attacks occurred in Selayang township, north of Kuala Lumpur where a large community of both legal and illegal Burmese migrants live and work.
“Frankly speaking, the area is ridden with major crimes such as drug dealing and murder and is frequented by criminal gangs who the police are unable to keep under control,” Tin Latt Ko told MRTV yesterday.
According to the ambassador, the rash of violence kicked off on 30 May followed by two separate attacks in Selayang that resulted in one death on Friday.
On Monday morning, another Burmese migrant was stabbed to death at a carwash according to a report in The Malaysian Insider published today.
Over the weekend, dozens of Burmese residents in Kuala Lumpur sought shelter in a monastery in the capital.
“They were scared after their friends got hacked – so they fled,” said Abbot Eaindeka of Kampung Burmese Buddhist Monastery.
Although officials and Burmese living in Kuala Lumpur have speculated that the assaults may be related to ongoing religious violence within Burma, there has been no official confirmation to support these assertions.
Elsewhere in Malaysia, no other major violent incidents were reported in Burmese communities.
According to the ambassador, monasteries in Kampong and Penang had received threats; however the official dismissed the statements and said threats were ‘common’. In 2004 and 2006, Burma’s embassy in Malaysia had been targeted with arson attacks.
“We learnt that the Burmese Monastery in Penang was threatened with arson attacks, but it’s just a common thing,” the ambassador told DVB.
“Our embassy over time has received threats, including arson, hijacking and bombing.”
Thousands of Burmese nationals reside in Malaysia, including a large number of Muslim Rohingya who land in the country by boat after fleeing religious persecution in Burma.