Two Burmese nationals were murdered in separate incidents in the Malaysian cities of Puchong and Butterworth this week.
While the deaths of the two Burmese nationals – Tony, 40, and Myo Paing, 50 – are not directly linked to the recent Mandalay riots, a representative of a Burmese community group in Malaysia noted that in recent times, communal violence in Burma has regularly been followed closely by revenge killings of Burmese nationals in Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country.
It is not yet apparent which religion or religions the two men followed, nor whether their murders were in any way related to communal tensions in their home country.
Their deaths come days after Mandalay Division was rocked with communal violence. In Chan Aye Tharzan Township, two men – one Muslim and one Buddhist – were killed by mobs during two nights of riots.
On 7 July, Tony was found dead in Butterworth, Penang. Two days later, Myo Paing was hacked to death by a group of unidentified men in Puchong, about 20 kilometres south of Kuala Lumpur. Myo Paing, who has resided in Malaysia for roughly 25 years, had attended the funeral of Tony earlier that day.
According to San Win, chairman of Burmese community group Kepong Free Funeral Assistance Organisation, an eyewitness said that Myo Paing was walking home around 9pm at night when six men drove up on motorbikes and proceeded hack at him with long blades.
San Win said that killings of Burmese nationals in Malaysia following communal riots in Burma has become a regular pattern, and he called on the Burmese embassy in Malaysia to pressure the authorities to arrest the perpetrators.
“In the last year, about nine people have been killed but not a single case was resolved; not a single arrest has been made,” San Win said. “We hope the Burmese government and the embassy in Kuala Lumpur will pressure the Malaysian Home Affairs Ministry to investigate these murders.”
The Burmese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur released a statement on 10 July saying that it had learnt that Burmese nationals in Malaysia were being targeted with violence by some “extremist groups”.
In its statement, the embassy said, “We have met with the relative officials at the Malaysian Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs ministries and security organisations. We urged them to protect Burmese nationals and immediately identify and take action against the assailants.”
Malaysian Home Ministry spokeswoman Fadzelette Othman Merican said investigations for the two cases were ongoing, and declined to comment further.