Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said it is not right that neighbouring countries such as Malaysia are saddled with the responsibility to care for the Rohingya, as they are Myanmar people who have been denied citizenship. (NSTP/MUHD ZAABA ZAKERIA)
By Kalbana Perimbanayagam – January 6, 2019 @ 11:19pm
GOMBAK: The Myanmar government has been reminded to uphold its responsibility to its Rohingya community, who have been oppressed and reduced into becoming refugees worldwide.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said it is not right that neighbouring countries such as Malaysia are saddled with the responsibility to care for the Rohingya, as they are Myanmar people who have been denied citizenship.
She urged the international community to pressure Myanmar into assuming responsibility for the Rohingya, specifically by having Myanmar accept the community back to the country and restoring their rights.
“The global community must play a role in pressuring Myanmar to take responsibility for its own people and give the Rohingya their rights.
“Myanmar should not leave other countries, especially its neighbours, with this responsibility,” she said at the closing ceremony of the Humanitarian Laboratory 2.0 event on tackling the Rohingya crisis at the International Islamic University (IIUM) on Sunday.
Also present was Health director Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah; IIUM rector Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak; MERCY Malaysia president, Datuk Dr Ahmad Faizal Mohd Perdaus; Asean Rohingya Centre (ARC) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar; and Media Prima -NSTP Humanitarian Fund board of trustees chairman, Tan Sri Mohamed Jawhar Hassan.
Wan Azizah said Malaysia is firm in its stand that Myanmar must allow the Rohingya to return to their homeland in peace.
She said as of Nov last year, there were 81,764 Rohingya refugees in Malaysia, up from 52,569 in 2015 when the religious violence in Rakhine State was at its peak.
The government, she said, is making all efforts to ensure that the refugees here are in good condition, such as by giving them access to healthcare, education and work opportunities.
“The cooperation between the government and NGOs via a shared responsibility concept can also improve the existing mechanism to help the Rohingya community in the long run,” she said.
Commenting on the Humanitarian Laboratory 2.0 event, organised by MERCY Malaysia, Dr Wan Azizah said the laboratory, which discussed access to healthcare, education as well as protection accorded to refugees, was timely.
“This is in line with the government’s aspiration to ensure that existing humanitarian works are improved, especially in areas related to education, healthcare and employment,” she said.
Prior to her speech, Syed Hamid representing the Humanitarian Laboratory 2.0, had presented a resolution achieved during the lab session to Dr Wan Azizah.
At the same event, Media Prima Bhd (MPB) also presented a RM412,350 donation, courtesy of the Media Prima-Rohingya Humanitarian Fund.
The donation was presented by Mohamed Jawhar to Dr Ahmad Faizal, witnessed by Dr Wan Azizah.
On behalf of Media Prima, Mohamed Jawhar thanked everyone who contributed to the fund and for their concerns for the Rohingya.
“Since it was launched in Nov 2016, the Rohingya – Media Prima Humanitarian Fund has accumulated RM0.761 million.
“The money were handed over in stages to NGOs involved in helping the Rohingya refugees. This has been a continuous effort which we also promote through the various media channels and venues.” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Ahmad Faizal said in line with its 20th anniversary, MERCY Malaysia is planning to embark on a second round of the Humanitarian Lab 2:0 initiative.
“Although it’s a big step, we will try.”he said.