Over 1,000 Myanmar Migrants Detained in Malaysia Crackdown

Over 1,000 Myanmar migrants have been detained in Malaysia after a crackdown on undocumented workers was launched last month, according to local labor organizations.

Local media report that the crackdown came in response to public complaints regarding an influx of undocumented migrants in certain areas.

The operation is targeting undocumented foreigners, visa overstayers, and migrants working in occupations reserved for locals.

“In December, they raided two or three places per day. Most people were arrested for visa overstays. The exact number of [Myanmar] detainees has not been revealed, but up to 100 were arrested in each place. More than 1,000 have been arrested, mostly in Kua Lumpur,” Ko Thet, chairman of Hna Lone Hla Blood Donors Association, told The Irrawaddy.

Also detained were undocumented migrants from other countries including Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, the Philippines and Nepal.

Unlike previous crackdowns, authorities are conducting raids accompanied by large numbers of prisoner transport vehicles. In past operations, prisoner transport vehicles only arrived after the raid was over.

Undocumented workers detained during a raid by Malaysian authorities. / Jabatan Imigresen

“They are conducting raids at any time and any place. The current operation is tough,” Ko Thet said.

Myanmar detainees face three months in Malaysia Immigration Department cells before they are transferred to detention camps for citizenship verification and then deported to Myanmar, according to labor organizations in Malaysia.

Organizations assisting Myanmar migrants in Malaysia have advised them to keep a low profile during the crackdown.

“They should not jump from buildings to avoid arrest. They should not wear longyi and Thanakha or spit betel juice. There have been lots of complaints by Malaysian citizens about foreigners opening shops and organizing festivals,” said an assistance organization member.

Undocumented workers detained during a raid by Malaysian authorities. / Jabatan Imigresen

Post-pandemic unemployment coupled with economic turmoil after the 2021 coup have forced many young Myanmar citizens to leave the country in search of work.

Though less popular than it used to be, Malaysia remains one of their top choices.

Of the estimated 800,000 Myanmar migrant workers in Malaysia, about 300,000 are undocumented, according to local migrant assistance organizations.

This article was originally published by a www.irrawaddy.com . Read the Original article here. .