Pair of Burmese Migrants Slashed to Death in Malaysia

By Nyein Nyein 18 September 2014

Two more Burmese migrant workers in Malaysia’s Penang State were murdered on Sunday, bringing the number killed this year in the fellow Southeast Asian nation to about 20, according to a Kuala Lumpur-based migrant advocacy group.

San Win, chairman of the Myanmar Free Funeral Service in the Malaysian capital, said one man was stabbed repeatedly in his abdomen and ribs and the other victim had had his throat slit. Their bodies were found by police in an oil palm plantation on Monday.

“They worked in a factory in Butterworth town, in Seberang Perai in Penang,” San Win said. “They did not arrive home on Sunday, September 14, after work. Their friends thought they were visiting around, but they did not show up for work on Monday morning and friends started to look for them. When they reported their disappearance to the Malaysian police, the police told them about the two dead bodies found in the plantation.”

The two men—both ethnic Arakanese—were identified by their friends as Kyaw Thar Hla, 32, from Mrauk U, and Kyaw Aye Hlaing, 29, from Rathedaung Township.

San Win said Malaysia police were investigating the case, but had not yet announced any arrests.

“Their bodies have been placed at the Seberang Jaya hospital before cremation,” he said.

Lin Maung Maung, the assistant to the secretaries of the Burmese Embassy in Malaysia, said the embassy had been notified of the two men’s deaths.

Nine Burmese were killed and 15 others were injured in Malaysia last May when anti-Muslim riots broke out in the Burmese towns of Meikhtila and Lashio.

San Win said since then, at least two migrants were victims of grisly murders every month. In August, a Burmese man from Prome Township in Pegu Division was slashed to pieces in Penang. In early July, four Burmese were killed by unknown attackers in Penang.

Malaysian online media reported that Kyaw Thar Hla and Kyaw Aye Hlaing were the victims of “communal murders” between the Burmese Buddhist and Muslim Rohingya communities in Malaysia.

Lin Maung Maung, however, cautioned against drawing premature conclusions.

“Because the murders happen mostly at night, finding the killers is hard as there are no eyewitnesses,” he said.

“All we can do is remind the Malaysian police to keep investigating.”

San Win said the Burmese government should put pressure on Malaysian authorities to crack the unsolved murder cases.

On Monday, Brig-Gen Kyaw Zan Myint, Burma’s minister of home affairs, was asked by a parliamentarian about government efforts to protect Burma’s overseas workers.

The minister said authorities were “working on the matter,” adding that Burma’s police were working with their Malaysian counterparts on the spate of killings.