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Issue No:84
  • :0976 1121
  • :December
  • :2020

Samudra Report No.84, December 2020

 

Roundup News, Events, Briefings and More...

COVID-19

COVID closures, embassy intervention strands hundreds of Lao fishermen in Malaysia

Hundreds of Lao migrant fishermen are stranded in Malaysia after the Lao Embassy in Kuala Lumpur took control of their return travel plans to arrange pricier flights, which had already been complicated by coronavirus restrictions, the fishermen told RFA.

Drawn by the prospect of well-paid work at sea, around 700 Lao migrants traveled overland through Thailand to Pahang state on the east coast of the Malay Peninsula, entering Malaysia on tourist visas, one of the men said.

“The company or the owner of the fishing boats made all the paperwork for us, including work permits and contracts, so we are all legal workers in Malaysia,” the fisherman told RFA’s Lao Service Monday on condition of anonymity. But the coronavirus threw a wrench in their plans to return home when the fishing season ended in November. After an inexpensive bus trip back to Laos through Thailand became impossible when borders between Malaysia and Thailand closed, about 530 of the fishermen negotiated passage to Laos from Pahang with V Travel, a Malaysian tour company.

With expenses piling up and no money coming in, hundreds of the fishermen illegally entered...

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