Body of Burmese Man Repatriated After Alleged Murder in Malaysia

By Nyein Nyein 3 January 2014

The body of a Burmese man who is believed to have been murdered last weekend in Malaysia will be sent back to Burma on Saturday, in a case that highlights rising tensions over the past year for Burmese nationals living in Malaysia.

Bo Bo Han Nyein Kyaw, 30, had lived in Malaysia for three years with his brother, most recently working at a factory in Kuala Lumpur that produces fire protection equipment.

Authorities believe he was killed last Sunday in Puchong, a major town in Selangor State, about midway between Kuala Lumpur and the country’s administrative capital.

“We found his body the next morning. He was stabbed to death, according to the Malaysian police,” said the man’s brother, Myat Htut, adding that three suspects had been arrested.

San Win, chairman of the Malaysia Myanmar Free Funeral Service, a Kuala Lumpur-based group that assists Burmese migrants, said the body would be returned to Burma on Saturday. It is the second time since June that a body has been repatriated.

“The body will be transported on a flight tomorrow, as we have received permission from the embassy. It will be transported to his parents, who live in Latpantan Township, Pegu Division,” San Win told The Irrawaddy on Friday.

He added that the Rangoon-based Free Funeral Service Society, led by former actor and social activist Kyaw Thu, would cover transportation inside Burma.

Malaysia’s state-run newspaper also reported this week on the alleged murders of other Burmese nationals in Malaysia. In the first case, a 25-year-old man was found dead, lying in a pool of blood, in Malacca State on Tuesday, with police suspecting that he had been stabbed in a drunken brawl with three compatriots. Two Burmese women were also found dead in Penang this week. The Malaysian newspaper reported that Burmese suspects had been detained.

Malaysian law enforcement have reported a rise in murder cases involving Burmese nationals since May, when clashes broke out between Burmese Buddhists and Malaysian Muslims that were believed to have been triggered by sectarian violence in Burma between Buddhists and Muslims.

Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country, began assisting Buddhist-majority Burma in efforts to repatriate hundreds of Burmese nationals amid the clashes in May and June. At least six Burmese migrants were killed, including one whose body was repatriated in June.

About 250,000 Burmese nationals are believed to live in Malaysia, often taking low-paid jobs, including at restaurants and construction sites, with help from labor agencies. About 110,000 Burmese nationals in the country lack proper legal documentation, according to Burma’s Ministry of Labor.

The Malaysia Myanmar Free Funeral Service has provided free burial services since April 2011 for nearly 300 people who have died of various causes, including workplace incidents, poor health, violent fights and attacks. It says it has offered assistance for six to 13 cases monthly.

San Win said 2013 saw the highest number of deaths of Burmese nationals in Malaysia, and that many were murdered or stabbed in brawls. About 15 people were murdered over six months, he said.