Sunday, August 20, 2017

Migrant workers detained in Malaysia return home

More than 60 Myanmar workers who have been detained at various camps across Malaysia are heading home today, Malaysia-based Kepong Free Funeral Services said.

The organisation had planned to assist the workers’ return in time for State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s 71st birthday on June 19 but the citizenship verification process was not finished in time.

U San Win, chair of Kepong Free Funeral Services, said they could assist about 250 detained Myanmar migrant workers based on donations they have received but will conduct the repatriations group by group, following embassy approval.

“We have already handed over all the donations to the embassy and the embassy arranged the plans. We are happy that we are able to assist them in their return home,” he said.

The Myanmar embassy in Malaysia has approved the necessary documents for 39 migrant workers from Belantik Camp and 23 from Merah Camp.

The embassy says it will try its best to help detained migrant workers return home. There are many in similar situations throughout the country, embassy officials said in a statement about repatriation plans on July 6.

Almost 2000 Myanmar migrant workers are detained in camps across Malaysia for a variety of reasons, including immigration violations. More than 300 have already served their sentences but they are unable to return because they have no money, the embassy said.

The embassy is giving repatriation priority to women, children, older people and those who have been in the camps for a lengthy period.

“We must visit all camps in rotation and have to arrange for repatriation of almost all of the migrants,” the statement said. “We are trying to re-check for undocumented migrants in cooperation with related ministries.”

Some returnees who have not had contact with friends or family are being allowed to stay at Tha Bar Wa meditation centre in Thanlyin township until they are able to get in touch with their loved ones, said Ko Kyaw Zin, a member of Kepong Free Funeral Services.

Detained migrant workers should depart for home on Myanmar Airways International at 12:50pm Malaysia time, he said, and they are scheduled to arrive at Yangon International Airport at about 1:30pm local time.