Malaysia to hold gathering in protest over Myanmar’s Rohingya violence, Zahid says

Participants at a gathering to condemn the actrocities against the Rohingya in Gelugor, Penang, last Thursday. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Participants at a gathering to condemn the actrocities against the Rohingya in Gelugor, Penang, last Thursday. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — Malaysians must stand against the aggression and genocide on the Rohingya carried out by the Myanmar government, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. 

He said the Foreign Ministry had contacted the Myanmar ambassador to Malaysia last week and handed him a protest note.

“The major gathering on Dec 4 is to express our concern over the violence taking place on the Rohingya,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid said the gathering was not only among Muslim non-governmental ogranisations as the main reason was to stand against the violence of the Myanmar government, which affected Asean.

So far, from the Opposition, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has confirmed his attendance.

“I hope we can all do away with our differences and work together on a bigger problem,” Ahmad Zahid said.

NGOs are urging international organisations to play a more proactive role in tackling violence and atrocities against the Rohingya.

Malay NGOs are in consensus that while Malaysia is doing what is possible for the Rohingyas, world powers such as the United Nations (UN) and Asean should intervene.

Malay Islamic World (Dunia Melayu Dunia Islam) president Tan Sri Mohd Ali Rustam said immediate intervention by the UN was the fastest possible solution.

He said the UN should convene a meeting of the Security Council and intervene as it had done with other countries, such as Iraq.

“We can’t continue to sit back and watch Myanmar kick out the Rohingya and have the UN expect neighbouring countries to keep taking them in,” he said. 

“We want to help, but how many more can we take in?  The Myanmar government is responsible to protect their people, whether Muslim or not.” 

The former Malacca chief minister said taking other measures besides public protests, such as suspending trade with Myanmar, would not be the solution as it could lead to other issues, including black markets.

Ikatan Rakyat Insan Muslim Malaysia (IRIMM) chairman Amir Amsaa Alla Pitchay said aside from waiting for international intervention, the government should take action by disallowing Myanmar workers to enter the country.

He said the Myanmar government needed a wake-up call that what it was doing was unacceptable and wrong.

“If we don’t take stringent action, then Myanmar will take things easy and continue mass killings knowing there would be no outside interference or intervention.”

Amir said a group of NGOs would send a memorandum to the UN office in Damansara Heights on Thursday, to call on the organisation to take swift action.

Islamic Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim) vice-president Ahmad Fahmi Mohd Samsudin said crimes against the Rohingya, which had been going on for many years, needed to be highlighted more and backed by consistent action from the government.

Although the Foreign Affairs Ministry publicly condemned the escalation of violence against the Rohingya, he said, the government should withdraw the Malaysian ambassador from Myanmar.

“It is time for countries, especially those with the power, to act as the basic human rights of the Rohingya are being violated,” he said.

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