Six undocumented migrants from Myanmar have been reported to have committed suicide over the past month in Malaysia. Due to the lockdowns, the migrants had all faced increased financial hardships. Many had lost their jobs or were unable to find jobs and faced distressed over being unable to return to Myanmar.
Undocumented workers in Malaysia are more likely to lose their jobs under the COVID-19 crises and avoid venturing outside for food or healthcare due to the fear of arrest under the crackdown on illegal foreign workers.
According a Myanmar Embassy official, 250,000 out of over 550,000 Myanmar migrants in Malaysia are undocumented workers, and up to 50,000 are currently struggling to make a living.
Chairman of the Kuala Lumpur-based Kathpone ‘Free Funeral Service Society’ U San Win, who provided the funeral services for the migrants who died in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, stated that even if migrants were able to cover the cost of travel, “undocumented workers lack opportunities to return home. Many suffer from depression while stranded in their rooms.”
The Myanmar government seeks to deport more than 3,000 additional detainees claimed to be from Myanmar, who are currently being held in immigrant detention centres across the country.