Thailand and Malaysia have been having problems recently with illegal immigrants, mostly economic migrants such as the Burmese Rohingya Muslims, attempting to enter those countries. We reported that the Prime Minster of Thailand just last month said that country would send the illegal Rohingya to a deserted island.
Now nature has handed those immigrants a great excuse to pressure Thailand and Malaysia to open its gates to them. A news story from the Malaysian National News Agency begins:
BANGKOK, May 6 (Bernama) — With over 10,000 people feared dead and millions made homeless by the Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, neighbouring countries like Thailand and Malaysia have been asked to provide humanitarian support by easing immigration rules to possible refugees, an exile leader said Tuesday.
Soe Aung, the spokesperson of the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) based in Thailand, said he could not rule out the possibility of thousands of people seeking refuge in other countries following the tropical cyclone that struck the military-ruled country.
“The people who are already suffering will be hard hit by this cyclone. This is a very very big devastation and the government is not prepared at all to undertake relief works,” he told a press conference here Tuesday.
Even before the cyclone, hundreds of Burmese had been seeking better life in neighbouring countries, including Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh.
The April issue of the Burma Bulletin produced by activists here claimed that the departures of Rohingya boat people to Malaysia has ended as the monsoon season begins while excodus of people from Arakan State to Bangladesh continues.
“We hope Malaysia and Thailand will ease restriction on these people who want to escape the devastation by not arresting them. We hope there will be some mechanism to help them,” he said.
Note on the Rohingya. We have been receiving correspondence (in addition to comment no. 8 at this post) from the Rohingya rights groups who are looking to third country resettlement for these fundamentalist Muslims who are being pushed out of Burma (Myanmar). I have written to their leadership asking for more information, but they have not responded.
I am going to create a new category called “Rohingya Reports” and instead of attempting to make heads or tails out of their case in order to post on them, I’ll put up everything I get so that at some point we will have an archive on this situation. I predict this case will be a bellweather case for how the US government through the US State Department will treat Muslim immigration going forward.