A letter to The Star Newspaper

Many Myanmar professionals

working here

AS a Myanmar reading law in Malaysia legally, I am upset at the way Myanmar people working in Malaysia have been portrayed in your article “Myanmar refugees forced to make a living” (The Star, April 6).

The writer probably means well by bringing to light the plight of Myanmar Rohingya refu­gees in Malaysia and how they have to beg to survive.

However, when the writer said things like begging for the Myanmar is a trade that is passed down from generations, it implies that the majority of Myanmar here are either refugees or beggars whose sole trade is a passed down stamp of degradation and helplessness.

This is not true because there are so many Myanmar professionals working in Malaysia who abide by the law and are valuable members of the workforce. It is to me akin to racial profiling and typecasting of a specific group of aliens living in a host country.

The article has not dealt with the root causes of why these people are doing what they are doing and for generations in Malaysia.

The reason is they have been victims of serious human rights abuses in their home country, Myanmar, which is why they have fled to neighbouring countries like Malaysia.

And one should also ask why this situation of begging has been passed down from generation to generation. It is because there is no proper programme for such stateless people to either be assimilated into society or equipped to restart lives in a third country.

The Myanmar involved in begging are from the Muslim minority group called Rohingyas who live on the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh. They are not accepted as citizens by either country even though, historically, culturally and racially, they are a Myanmar tribe. There are also other tribes such as the Karens and Mons while the majority that makes up Myanmar are the Buddhist Burmans.

SU KYAW,

Kuala Lumpur.

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