Residents of the neighbourhood in Malaysia where five Burmese migrant workers were killed by armed assailants last week told a local daily that the violence was uncharacteristic in a community made up of many foreign workers simply looking to earn a living.
“We would see Myanmar workers walking by our place every day. They had never caused any problems,” Fifi Tang, a 40-year-old local factory worker from Kuala Lumpur’s Sri Serdang Industrial Park where the murders took place, was quoted as saying.
“Let us hope the police will quickly find the killers,” she told The Star.
An officer from the Sri Serdang police station said the perpetrators arrived to the crime scene on Thursday night in two cars, with authorities still investigating the possible motive behind the machete attack.
“It has always been peaceful here,” an employee at a local coffee shop told The Star, while a truck driver from the neighbourhood said he and his friends were more guarded about their surroundings in the wake of the attack.
The Burmese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur said it too was still investigating the attack, in which two other Burmese nationals were hospitalised with injuries.
“Officials of Myanmar Embassy, the Ministry of Immigration and Population and labour attaché have been launching an investigation into the attack on Myanmar workers in cooperation with Malaysian authorities,” President’s Office spokesman Zaw Htay was quoted as saying Monday in the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar.
San Win, a Burmese social worker, told DVB that police had interrogated some people about the incident, but he noted that the attack on the migrant workers occurred in the dark of night. No one had yet come forward to say they recognised the assailants, he said.
San Win said Malaysian police have sought to assure the Burmese migrant worker community that law enforcement officials were working to ensure their security and that they could continue to report to their jobs as normal.
Last month, the Burmese government announced that it would stop sending migrant workers to Malaysia out of fear that their safety could not be assured amid rising tensions between the two countries over the former’s treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State.
According to Monday’s Global New Light of Myanmar report, the permanent secretary of Burma’s Immigration and Population Ministry, Myo Aung, said it was too early to say whether the attack was linked to Arakan State.