Malaysia sentences 130 illegal Myanmar workers to prison

Of 156 Myanmar nationals who were rounded up during a crackdown on undocumented workers in Malaysia earlier this month, 130 have been sentenced to three months in prison, a Myanmar diplomat said.

U Thiha Maung Maung, a Myanmar embassy official in charge of migrant affairs, said the 130 illegal workers were sentenced last week.

 “Only a few family members sought relief in court to try to reduce the penalties,” he said. “It is very sad.”

A total of 278 foreign workers were arrested by the Malaysian authorities on November 3 during a routine inspection of the Panasonic TV factory in Shah Alam, Selangor.

All the workers were charged by the Immigration Department with staying and working in Malaysia without permits.

The first batch of 135 Myanmar workers was tried in Sepang Court on Thursday. One female worker was released after she paid a fine of RM3000 (K1.13 million/US$716), while four others were sentenced to two months in prison, pending a decision on their appeals. The rest were sentenced to three months in prison.

After serving their sentences, the workers will be sent to immigration detention centres, where they will be held for several months while their documents are processed by the Myanmar Embassy in Malaysia.

U Thiha Maung Maung said the illegal workers will then be allowed to return to Myanmar.

According to Myanmar migrant activists, about 500,000 Myanmar nationals work in Malaysia, most of them without permits.

According to the Myanmar Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, up to 3000 Myanmar workers go to Malaysia every month in search of work.

Written by ZAW ZAW HTWE
Source: Myanmar Times

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