KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 — Malaysia’s steadfastness in voicing out the Rohingya issue to the superpowers like the United States has to some extent, borne results as the international community has started to pay more attention to the plight of this oppressed ethnic minority group.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told Parliament today that Washington, for instance, had allocated US$32 million in aid for the Rohingya refugees, besides severing military assistance to the Myanmar forces following the atrocities committed.
He said the action taken by the US showed that Malaysia was capable of bringing issues of interest to the superpowers.
Najib said he had specifically and clearly raised the Rohingya refugee issue with President Donald Trump during their meeting at the White House in September and it was well received by the American leader.
“I wish to inform that the original communique did not mention the Rohingya issue but when I asked that the matter (be included), President Trump agreed and the communique from the White House then included the issue of oppression against the Rohingya,” he said in reply to Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing (BN-Bintulu) on the results of the prime minister’s working visit to the US.
“This is an achievement for Malaysia, meaning that Malaysia has influence on the international stage and in fact, with the superpowers even,” he noted.
Najib said the meeting (with Trump) also discussed the situation in the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea issue, besides Malaysia-US bilateral cooperation.
Malaysia, he said, was weighing its relations with North Korea from various aspects including diplomatic, political and economic.
“Malaysia is also considering whether to close its embassy in Pyongyang, besides having introduced the visa requirement for North Koreans to enter this country.”
Najib said Kuala Lumpur had indeed taken measures to abide by the United Nations resolutions pertaining to North Korea’s threats.
To a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR-Permatang Pauh) on Malaysia’s foreign policy, the prime minister stated that Malaysia remained consistent with its foreign policy that was based on the principles of the nation’s sovereignty and national interests.
“We do not change (our foreign policy) according to situations. We don’t make u-turns, while other parties like to make u-turns; previously they disagreed, now they agree.
“This is what the opposition always does but we are consistent...can check our country’s foreign policy, we are steadfast, consistent always and whatever the situation, we uphold the principles of the nation’s sovereignty and national interests,” he added.
Wan Azizah also asked the prime minister why he did not stay at Blair House, the residence for the US President’s guests while on his visit to Washington DC.
Najib replied: “Although I did not stay at Blair House, I received an invitation to play golf with President Trump and he sent me to the car. So, we need not mention this thing; it’s not a question of policy.
“We wanted to place importance on the matter of policy and we were highly honoured by the United States.”
The prime minister also said that no payment was made to meet with President Trump as it was on a government matter.
“My predecessor had done that to get an invitation from President Bush. We don’t practise that method and my predecessor has now been accepted by the opposition….that’s good,” he said. — Bernama