Malaysia wants the UN Security Council to set up an international tribunal with a special mandate to try those accused of genocide against Rohingyas in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
During a parliamentary session on Thursday, Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the International Criminal Court (ICC) has initiated an investigation into the atrocities against Rohingyas.
“In this regard, Malaysia is of the view that the United Nations Security Council should also refer the Rohingya issue to the international judicial process, including the setting up of an international tribunal with a special mandate,” he told the Dewan Rakyat [lower house of the Malaysian parliament], reports Bernama, state news agency of Malaysia.
Some 750,000 Rohingya fled brutal military campaign since August last year and took shelter in Bangladesh, joining some 300,000 others who had fled earlier waves of violence in Myanmar. They have been denied citizenship and other basic rights since 1982.
Malaysia will continue to work together with like-minded countries to ensure that Rohingyas receive the justice they deserve, Saifuddin Abdullah said.
The remarks of new Malaysian foreign minister is significant as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) has historically struggled with challenges facing the region because it works only by consensus and is reluctant in matters deemed to be internal.
So far, member states have spoken mostly of repatriation of Rohingyas from Bangladesh to Myanmar. Amid rising international criticism, Malaysia and other Asean members appear to be taking a stronger stance.
At the Asean summit in Singapore last week, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad harshly criticised Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.