From the International Medical NGO Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders)
We left Myanmar in 2003 and worked for a short while in Thailand. But we were scared that the police might catch us, so we decided to come to Malaysia. We found an ‘agent’ – someone who knows how to get people over the border – and he drove us into Malaysia. We hid in the back seat of the car.
At first I worked at a construction site in the jungle near Alor Setar. Then we came to Kuala Lumpur and found a place to live near a wholesale market. We share it with quite a lot of other people from Myanmar – people come and go but there are normally about six of us living in the place.
Our daughter is two and Fatima is nine months pregnant with our second child. We have a small room for the three of us and we share the kitchen, toilet and shower with everyone else.
Fatima stays in the flat most of the day, washing, cleaning and cooking. I found work at the wholesale market, making roti bread outside a restaurant.
In 2005 we went to UNHCR – the UN organisation responsible for the welfare of refugees – to ask to be registered. They gave us both a letter saying that confirmed we were persons of concern to UNHCR.
In November last year, I was working at the restaurant when there was an immigration raid. I wasn’t worried because I had the letter from UNHCR so thought that there wouldn’t be a problem. But even though I showed it to the immigration officials, they took me to the police lock-up. I stayed in detention for a month.
Finally they told me that there would be a court hearing. (more…)