The Organization of Karenni Development (OKD), based in Malaysia seems to be welcoming residents in Burma, when many want to go overseas for jobs despite being tortured and arrested by the Malaysian police, according to sources.A local resident in Loikaw said, “The people are not being forced to come to Malaysia but many people apply because the travel fees are cheaper than in other countries and it is easy to get UN identity cards. Again drought has hit Burma making Burmese people suffer from poverty. So they target going to Malaysia.”

The travel fees to Singapore are 300,000 Kyat, while to Malaysia it is 150,000 Kyat.

“Many people submitted applications to the foreign ministry to work in Malaysia and some to Singapore. There will be no more football players for a team during our township competitions, because many youths have gone abroad,” said a youth in Pruso Township.

The ethnic Burmese refugee population in Malaysia is increasing by the day with on an average 30 to 40 new arrivals registering with the community centre, said the Karenni organization.

Patrick James, Chairman of OKD told to Kantarawaddy Times, “The OKD tells people to come to Malaysia by helping new arrivals, working in remote areas and even those who have no ID cards and face arrest. If someone has to pay 100 ringgits to get a job through brokers, they (OKD) just ask the people not  to pay. However, the salary is not high if they find jobs by themselves, but it is secure,” he added.

According to the UNHCR there are 49,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia, of whom approximately 45,000 are from Burma – with the majority of the Burmese refugees reportedly Rohingya Muslims from Burma’s Arakan state. They are also from Kachin, Arakan, Mon, Karenni, Karen state among others.

In the current situation, OKD has a list of 963 Karenni people, who registered as refugees and 40 people have already resettled in third countries, mostly in USA, Canada, New Zealand and Norway.