Myanmar’s regime has directed a cessation of all new passport-related activities to block many job seekers who plan to work abroad away from the social and economic chaos in Myanmar.
The junta suspended issuing and renewing passports, including new applications on 17 January, notwithstanding the Memorandum of Understanding between the Myanmar government and relevant foreign governments allowing some Myanmar migrants to get passports in December.
The regime has yet to declare the reason behind the suspension nor it’s the duration.
However, labor rights activists suggest that the reason may be due to the junta’s seeking to cut the funds flowing from Myanmar workers overseas to its political opposition. They also added that the passport suspension amounts to a human rights violation.
A labor rights activist, Ms. Daw Thuzar Maung, claimed most Myanmar migrant workers in Malaysia donate to the resistance movement.
“They [the junta] apparently think that people can’t work if they can’t get passports, or that they can’t continue to work once their passports expire. And if they aren’t receiving salaries, they won’t be able to fund the revolution. They have done this with that thought in mind,” she said.
She also added that the labor rights activists have been assisting the migrant workers in Malaysia, whose passports are invalid by contacting the relevant United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees office to help them secure a job and a place to stay.
Ms. Daw Thuzar Maung noted that a large number of Myanmar worker migrants in Malaysia do not want to interact with the junta-controlled embassy, which is why they have chosen to remain abroad.
Recently, the Myanmar government has promised an election in the country in August this year. However, strict new legislation governing political parties have sparked concerns about the freedom and fairness of voting.