THERE are no illegal Myanmar traders at the Selayang Market, but about 200 Rohingyas work for the legal ones at the market.
“These Rohingyas do odd jobs like cleaning vegetables and sell fish, but none of them are part of the illegal traders outside the market,” said Rohingya Information Centre advocate Sauumee Ullah.
Sauumee was referring to an April 13 report in which the market traders claimed that the Rohingyas were robbing them of their business.
“Many ethnic tribes, including the Rohingyas, from Myanmar have entered Malaysia,” he said. “But, the illegal traders comprise Muslims from Myanmar, not the Rohingyas.”
Centre’s secretary-general Haji Mubarak bin Abu Bashar said Rohingyas were part of a tribe that lived in Arakan, a province North West in Myanmar.
“A common misconception is that all Muslims from Myanmar are Rohingyas is not true,” he said. “Yes, Rohingyas are Muslims, but they are a different ethnic group.”
Currently, there are about 100,000 Rohingyas living in Malaysia. Of the number, 10,000 are in the Klang Valley.
“The Rohingyas were expelled from Myanmar after the military took over in 1962,” said Mubarak, adding that some 1.3 million of them fled to all parts of the world, including Malaysia.
“We were citizens of Myanmar, but the military regime took away that right,” he said. “We had to seek help from UNHCR and the UN Refugee Agency,” added Mubarak, who has been in Malaysia since 1994.
In 2004, the Malaysian Government granted temporary stay permits to the Rohingya refugee population.
In Kuala Lumpur the Rohingyas stay mostly in Ampang and Taman Desa. They speak Bahasa Malaysia and do odd jobs to make a living.