PUTRAJAYA, Sept 6 — Malaysia will continue to raise the plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar at the United Nations and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.
He said Malaysia would not stop looking into all possibilities to stop further escalation of violence against Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine state after Asean failed to address the issue efficiently.
"I think Asean can no longer handle this issue. Within Asean, I have given up hope. We had seven meetings, and Malaysia had expressed our concerns to Myanmar and they (Myanmar) promised to address the concern.
"Until today, nothing has been done. Therefore, Malaysia may raise it at other levels, like the United Nations and OIC," he said when asked to comment if Malaysia would bring up the issue of the continuing violence against the Rohingya at this month’s United Nations General Assembly.
Anifah spoke to reporters after Brazilian Foreign Affairs Minister Aloysio Nunes called on him at Wisma Putra today. Nunes is on a three-day working visit to Malaysia from yesterday.
Yesterday, Wisma Putra summoned Myanmar Ambassador to Malaysia, U Sein Oo, to express Malaysia's displeasure over the latest violence in Rakhine State.
Anifah, in a statement yesterday, was quoted as saying that Malaysia was gravely concerned over the continuing violence against the Rohingya in the state.
On Nunes' visit, Anifah said Brazil was keen to increase bilateral trade and investment with Malaysia and had invited Malaysia's national oil company Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) to invest in its oil and gas industries.
In early August, Petronas was among the first batch of the 14-strong list of companies approved by the Brazil licensing committee. The committee of Brazil's hydrocarbons regulator has approved the first batch of companies ahead of the country’s 14th licensing round for oil and gas concessions, scheduled for Sept 27.
Brazil is reported to be one of the world’s top holders of hydrocarbon reserves, with about 145 billion barrels of oil reserves.
"Our meeting was very good and, of course, Malaysia and Brazil share good relations. However, this does not reflect in the trade and investment. Therefore, Brazil is very much looking for opportunities available in Malaysia, and was also very keen to work with Asean.
"They have respect for Petronas. Brazil's trade and investments are still considered relatively low when compared to the resources that Malaysia has," he said.
In the 30-minute meeting, Anifah and Nunes also discussed matters pertaining to bilateral, regional and international issues, including a visit by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to Brazil.
Later, Anifah also hosted lunch for Nunes and his five-member delegation.
In a statement yesterday, Wisma Putra said Malaysia-Brazil relations, established in 1959, remained strong and vibrant in numerous areas, including trade and investment, education, security, defence and people-to-people relations. Last year, total trade between the two countries amounted to US$2.73 billion (RM11.63 billion) compared to US$2.52 billion (RM10.7 billion) in 2015. — Bernama