Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More Burmese facing expulsion from Singapore

By Seelan Palay
Originally published on yoursdp.org

Yet another two Burmese nationals working in Singapore have fallen victim to the Government for their support of the pro-democracy movement in their home country.

In the latest development, Singapore's Manpower Ministry is refusing to renew the work permits of Mr Moe Kyaw Thu, 35 and Mr Win Kyaw, 38, who had both worked here for 11 years each. Moe is a construction supervisor and Win, a technical supervisor. This drastic turn of events resulted from the two men's involvement in highlighting human rights abuses by the Burmese military junta following its crackdown of the pro-democracy movement in Rangoon led by monks in September last year.

Moe in particular appealed to MOM reiterating that he has no police record of any kind and he has fully respected the laws of Singapore while working here.

Both men have participated in the activities of the Overseas Burmese Patriots (OBP), an advocacy group formed in Singapore after the military crackdown. The group was involved in organizing and conducting a series of public campaigns in Singapore against the Burmese regime.

One of the activities was when over 40 Burmese, assembled in groups of four, held a peaceful protest along Orchard Road on 20 Nov 07 during the ASEAN Summit in nearby Shangri-la Hotel.

Following the event, the group was accused by the Singapore Government of deliberately breaking local laws. Its members were given a police warning for their participation in the protest. But none of the Burmese activists were ever charged with any unlawful act while pursuing their political objectives.

The hands of the PAP Government first became apparent in September this year when three members of the OBP were expelled when their work permits or residence in Singapore came up for renewal.

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng defended the Government's action then, stating that the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority "considers this small group to be undesirable persons and rightly decided they should leave."

In the ongoing saga, despite their employers wanting to retain them, Moe and Win have been ordered to leave Singapore by the end of January 2009.

"If they send me back, my family will suffer greatly. I'd have to spend the rest of my life in prison." said Moe.

The latest expulsions go against the sympathy and support the Burmese pro-democracy activists receive throughout the world. The inhumane act of the Singapore Government is an indirect endorsement of the murderous Burmese junta.

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