KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has clarified that he never suggested that Rohingya refugees be given Malaysian citizenship nor had they asked for it.
He said that Rohingya refugees had only ever asked to be granted Myanmar citizenship.
“They were denied citizenship in their own country. That is why their villages were burned and they were driven from their homeland.
“If we send the refugees back to Myanmar, they will be suppressed and might even be shot to death,” he said in a video broadcast on Facebook yesterday.
Anwar’s comments come after the vitriol on social media against the Rohingya community escalated in recent days.
In the same video broadcast, the PKR president also urged Malaysia’s political leaders to speak up on behalf of Rohingya refugees on humanitarian grounds.
While stressing that the rights of Malaysian citizens will always be the priority, he said that national leaders should, at the same time, take a stand on this pressing human rights issue.
“Last time, there was even a demonstration in support of the Rohingya, but now they are quiet because they are scared the public will get angry,” he said.
Instead of condemning the Rohingya refugees who land here, Anwar said that Malaysia should accommodate them in a special and controlled area.
“Perhaps we can set parameters for them until they are sent to other countries,” he said.
Comparing the Rohingya crisis to that of the Palestinians, Anwar added that the Malaysian government should put pressure on Myanmar to solve the issue.
“The Rohingya refugees who landed here did not demand any rights. Myanmar should repay the Malaysian government for the amount that we have spent on the refugees, who are actually their citizens,” he said.