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A Burmese government delegation headed by the Minister of Labour is travelling to Malaysia to negotiate over the issue of Burmese nationals arrested during a major crackdown on illegal migrants in Malaysia that began on 1 September.
According to Malaysia’s Home Affairs Minister, more than 2,400 undocumented migrants, including 555 Burmese nationals, were detained on the first day of the crackdown.
Thiha, a source close to the Burmese embassy in Kuala Lumpur, said the Burmese delegation is expected to travel imminently to the Malaysian capital to discuss the matter with local authorities.
“The Labour Minister is expected to negotiate the fate of the detained Burmese nationals,” he said. “The delegation will also observe the conditions where Burmese migrants live and work, and may also meet with Burmese NGOs in Kuala Lumpur.
San Win, the chairperson of the Kuala Lumpur-based Malaysia-Myanmar Free Funeral Service, said he plans to bring to the delegation’s attention the plight of Burmese migrants being cheated by brokers during the work and residence registration process. He said he would urge the Burmese officials to make a deal similar to that in Thailand where temporary passports are issued to migrants.
Malaysia’s home affairs minister said the crackdown will continue throughout the year, and that its aim is to eradicate illegal migrant labour in the country.
The director of the Burma Immigration Department, Maung Maung Than, said a senior official from the department will also accompany the Labour Minister to Kuala Lumpur.
“Our department’s deputy-director will join the delegation and urge the Malaysian authorities to protect Burmese nationals,” he said.