Residents of Rakhine State who have travelled to Malaysia to find jobs do not want to return home because of a lack of job opportunities, the chairman of the Arakan League for Democracy said on February 9.

U Aye Thar Aung was speaking after his return to Myanmar from a visit to Malaysia during which he met migrant workers from Rakhine State on February 4.

The meeting came a day before U Aye Thar Aung and Rakhine Nationalities Development Party leader U Aye Maung escaped injury during a shooting incident in Kuala Lumpur.

U Aye Thar Aung told Mizzima there were more than 80,000 migrant workers from Rakhine State in Malaysia who were prepared to endure difficult and insecure living conditions because they needed employment.

“There are no job opportunities in Rakhine State,” said U Aye Thar Aung, who returned to Myanmar on February 7. “They get less than K30,000 a month for working as farm labourers so they leave home to find jobs abroad,” he said.

U Aye Thar Aung said only a few Rakhine had been employed on the big infrastructure projects in Rakhine State, including the Kyaukphyu deep sea port, Kyuakphyu Special Economic Zone, the Kyuakphyu-China gas and oil pipeline and hotel projects along the coast in the Thandwe area.