Mapim: Myanmar must feel the pinch over Rohingya issue

PETALING JAYA: The Government must continue to pressure Myanmar over the Rohingya issue that is yet to be resolved, said the organiser of a humanitarian mission to help the community.

Malaysian Consultative Council for Islamic Organization

Malaysian Consultative Council of Islam Organisations (Mapim) president Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid (pix) said the Government cannot stand by quietly after voicing its displeasure to Myanmar over the treatment of the Rohingya.

“It is essential to put political pressure on Myanmar so that they will abide by international laws against genocide and ethnic cleansing.

“They have to take the initiative through forums such as Asean or OIC to stop the atrocities,” he told The Star Online Friday.

He added that although the Government is looking at maintaining constructive engagement with Myanmar by not cutting diplomatic relations, things have to be done in a different way.

“Myanmar must feel the pinch … The ball is still in Myanmar’s court.

“That is why the (Malaysian) Government can play a big role. They have all avenues and forums to raise the issue. Malaysia is now looked as the reference to do it,” he said.

Malaysia broke ranks with Asean’s non-interference policy and condemned the violence against the Rohingya, with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak saying that “enough is enough” during a rally in December last year.

However, atrocities against the Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine state on the coast of the Bay of Bengal have continued.

Human rights groups have accused the military and border guard forces of raping Rohingya women, torching houses and killing civilians, but the Myanmar government has denied all the allegations.

Mapim, together with Kelab Putra 1Malaysia (KP1), sent about 2,000 tonnes of food and aid to the Rohingya community in Myanmar and Bangladesh in February.

The aid mission had received the Malaysian Government’s blessings.

Considered to be stateless and often subjected to arbitrary violence and forced labour in Myanmar, the Rohingya are considered by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

As of February this year, there were 56,458 Rohingya refugees registered with the UN High Commission for Refugees in Malaysia, although unofficial estimates are three times that number.

Myanmar’s neighbours Bangladesh and Thailand host even larger numbers of Rohingya refugees.