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Burmese Refugees Accused of ‘Taking over’ Malaysian Markets

24 June 2013

Vegetable wholesalers in Malaysia say that refugees from Burma have taken over markets in the Klang Valley, an area comprising Kuala Lumpur and its suburbs, and are calling on immigration officials to crack down on their activities. Chong Tek Keong, treasurer of the Federation of Vegetable Wholesalers Associations of Malaysia, said that “hundreds, if not thousands,” of Burmese nationals with refugee cards issued by the UNHCR were engaged in vegetable trading, despite their status, which does not allow them to conduct businesses. In a report by the New Straits Times, Chong said the growing involvement of refugees in the vegetable trade had cost local wholesalers 30 percent of their profits.