AMPANG, Malaysia — For refugees from Myanmar who have reached Malaysia, life may well be better than the grim marginalization and persecution they fled. But even here, poverty and exclusion threaten to rob them of a voice in determining their own future.
The boatloads of Rohingya migrants who landed here desperate and exhausted last month join some 75,000 Rohingya who made their way to Malaysia years and even decades before. Judging by the hardships their forerunners face, it will be difficult for the latest wave either to establish a secure foothold or to achieve resettlement elsewhere.
“From a country, we have become stateless, and as refugees, we have become stateless again,” said Mohammed Noor, the managing director of Rohingya Vision TV, an online news service based in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital. “We’re a floating people now, floating everywhere without any hope, without any papers.”
Prayers and speeches here on Wednesday marked the third anniversary of the bloodshed in Myanmar that started the latest exodus, but in the larger regional debate over their future, the Rohingya have largely been left as muted bystanders.