• Monday, Jul 06, 2020
  • Last Update : 11:25 pm

Rohingya refugees tell Malaysia how dozens perished during four-month voyage

  • Published at 06:10 pm June 24th, 2020
Malaysia Rohingya
File photo: A boat carrying suspected ethnic Rohingya migrants is seen detained in Malaysian territorial waters on April 5, 2020 Reuters

More than 300 Rohingya had been transferred to this boat from a larger "motherboat" half-way through a voyage that began close to the Myanmar-Bangladesh border back in February

Survivors from a boat crammed with over 300 Rohingya Muslim refugees told Malaysian authorities that dozens of their people perished and their bodies were thrown in the sea during a tortuous four-month voyage.

The head of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) described the ordeal suffered by Rohingya whose damaged boat had made land on the Malaysian island of Langkawi on June 8, with 269 people aboard.

More than 300 Rohingya had been transferred to this boat from a larger "motherboat" half-way through a voyage that began close to the Myanmar-Bangladesh border back in February, MMEA Director General Mohd Zubil Bin Mat Som told a news conference on Wednesday.

"But some died at sea. They were thrown overboard," he said, later telling Reuters that those that perished had fallen sick, without elaborating further.

The fate of close to 500 Rohingya who had remained on "Motherboat 1" after the transfer at sea was unknown as authorities have been unable to track the vessel's location, he said.

The Rohingya had risked the perilous sea journey having lost hope of making a better life in the refugee camps in Bangladesh, where many had found sanctuary after fleeing their homes in Myanmar following a military crackdown in 2017.

Mainly Muslim Malaysia is home to the second largest number of Rohingya refugees after Bangladesh.

But in recent weeks, the Southeast Asian country has turned away at least two boats and detained hundreds of Rohingya and undocumented migrants, amid heightened public anger towards foreigners who have been accused of spreading the coronavirus and burdening state resources.

Mohd Zubil said the Rohingya survivors, who have since been detained, had paid traffickers about 2,500 ringgit ($585) up front for the voyage, with a pledge to pay an additional 11,000-13,000 ringgit once they found jobs in Malaysia.

Most of them were women promised for marriage to Rohingya men in Malaysia, he said.

Mohd Zubil declined to comment on whether a decision had been made to push the detainees back out to sea once their boat is repaired, a reported proposal that has been criticized by human rights groups.

blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail