794 migrants on two boats from Burma and Bangladesh were brought ashore by fishermen on Friday after countries in the region refused to rescue them.
More than 700 of the migrants were reported to be packed onto a single vessel by the Malaysian navy and were prevented from landing. The boat was half underwater and 'about to sink' when fishermen brought it to the fishing village of Lagsa, according to the police. they are now in a warehouse by the port as a temporary arrangement, a search-and-rescue official said.
Several thousand refugees from Bangladesh and Burma are escaping from poverty, while the Muslim Rohingya, who are not recognized citizenship by Burma government, are also fleeing persecution and violence from Buddhist mobs. South-east Asian nations such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand ignored requests by the United Nations to assist them to land, leaving them at sea without food or water.
"The Thai, Malaysian, and Indonesian navies should stop playing a three-way game of human ping pong, and instead should work together to rescue all those on these ill-fated boats," said Phil Robertson, from Human Rights Watch.