BANGKOK May 15 Thailand's prime minister warned
on Friday that if more Rohingya migrants head to the country's
shores they might steal jobs from Thais.
Thousands of Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar
are spirited across the Bay of Bengal by human trafficking
networks each year, most thought to be heading to Muslim
But, like Thailand and Indonesia, Malaysia has said it will
push boats full of migrants back to sea.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, whose government has
announced a regional meeting on the crisis for May 29, said his
country did not have the resources to look after the migrants.
"As there are many of them, we cannot look after them
properly. Where will we put them?" Prayuth told reporters.
"Right now we have to find a place for them to stay. In the
future, if many more of them come, it will cause a problem. They
will steal the jobs and livelihoods of Thais."
Nearly 800 "boat people" were brought ashore in Indonesia on
Friday but other vessels crammed with migrants were sent back to
sea despite a U.N. call to rescue thousands set adrift in
Southeast Asian waters.
Following a Thai crackdown on human trafficking, smugglers
have abandoned ships full of migrants, many of them sick and
hungry, in the Andaman Sea.
Thailand is frequently used as a transit route by smuggling
networks that prey on migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh
looking to escape ethnic and religious persecution.
(Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak; Writing by Amy Sawitta
Lefevre; Editing by Nick Macfie)