Embassy says repatriation cancelled, while labour minister to welcome thousands home
A PLAN to repatriate over 700 additional Myanmar workers from Malaysia has been cancelled due to lack of funding, according to an embassy statement.
State media announced on July 25 that around 700 migrants who were trapped in detention centres would be sent home within the month.
Yesterday, the Myanmar embassy in Malaysia said the plan had to be scrapped after the donor withdrew financial backing.
“The embassy cannot implement the repatriation plan for nearly 700 detained Myanmar migrant workers as previously arranged,” the statement released yesterday said.
The embassy added that it had planned on repatriating the workers by August 3 after U Soe Moe Naing, managing director of Phoe La Min trading Co Ltd, proposed providing the repatriation costs. However, the businessman rescinded the offer, and the embassy said it could not afford the plan on its own.
The statement did not add any reason for the financier’s change in plans.
The Myanmar Times could not contact the alleged business owner, nor identify a business with the same name yesterday.
Seemingly unaware of the embassy’s debacle, however, Labour Minister U Thein Swe yesterday announced that the ministry would be very soon welcoming home almost 3000 Myanmar migrant workers currently detained in Malaysia.
According to the labour ministry, the repatriation process for those detained workers will be coordinated by the individual workers and the relevant ministries, but does not involve the government or the embassy.
U Thein Win, a senior official from the labour and immigration ministry, confirmed the plan to repatriate workers next month is still going ahead, and added that 10 charter flights have been arranged.
“The plan will start very soon and we will repatriate over 100 detained workers on each trip,” he said.
“I don’t know why the embassy said it had cancelled a plan to repatriate over 700 workers. It may be a separate plan led by the embassy, but I am not sure,” he added.