KUALA LUMPUR, Apr 3 – The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has detained a boat carrying dozens of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar arrived in Langkawi, Malaysia today.
Royal Malaysian Navy chief Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin said the boat with carrying 56 people was found at 9.10am about 0.1 nautical miles (0.2km) off Pulau Nyior Setali by Maritime and Navy assets patrolling the waters.
He said most of them were children and women, believed to be from the strife-torn Rakhine region in Myanmar. “We found all 56 passengers which is 19 male adults, 17 female adults, 12 girls and eight boys on the boat. They are safe, but tired and hungry.
“Maritime has provided initial aid such as food, drinks and medicine as required. The boat and its passengers will be handed over … to the immigration authorities,” he said in a statement.
On Sunday (April 1), the boat had briefly stopped on the Thai island of Koh Lanta before continuing its journey here. They were turned away after being given food supplies at Koh Lanta, Thailand, as the country had a policy of not accepting such vessels into their waters.
According to the most recent statistics from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are nearly 700,000 Rohingya have sought shelter in southern Bangladesh since Myanmar launched a brutal crackdown last August. — PN