Malaysia to meet Indonesia, Thailand on migrants

Malaysia to meet Indonesia, Thailand on migrants
Rohingya migrants crammed onto a boat.

Malaysia said on Sunday that its foreign minister would meet his Indonesian and Thai counterparts to discuss the surge in stricken boatpeople from Bangladesh and Myanmar flooding to Southeast Asia.

Foreign Minister Anifah Aman was to meet Indonesia's Retno Marsudi in the Malaysian city of Kota Kinabalu on Monday, a government official said.

That would be followed by separate talks between Anifah and Thai Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn later in the week, "most probably on Wednesday". The official declined further comment but confirmed the meetings were called in response to the migrant crisis.

Nearly 3,000 migrants have been rescued or swum to shore in the three countries over the past week. Activists say thousands more are feared to be drifting at sea in rickety boats after a Thai crackdown on human-trafficking disrupted busy smuggling routes to Southeast Asia.

The three nations have come under mounting international pressure to allow boats to land after vessels overloaded with hundreds of starving and exhausted migrants were turned away.

The arrivals from Muslim Bangladesh are believed to be mainly economic migrants seeking to escape their country's grinding poverty, while those from Myanmar are predominantly members of that country's repressed Muslim ethnic Rohingya minority.

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