KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — A United Nations (UN) representative today lauded Malaysia’s efforts to fight for the marginalised Rohingya community, but said that the country should also address human rights issues back home.
“I am really happy to see Malaysian government take up Rohingya issues. That is a great thing to do, but it should also take up issues in own countries.
“Have the same concern for discrimination in Malaysia. For election reforms in Malaysia,” the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the rights to peaceful assembly and association Maina Kiai said today.
“But we should also ask them to have the same amount of concern for issues domestic and international. Not just about Rohingyas. We want Rohingyas to exercise their right, but we also want Malaysians to exercise their right,” he added.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and top leaders from both Umno and PAS had yesterday joined in a event to state their solidarity for the persecuted Rohingya in Rakhine, Myanmar.
Najib also vowed to fight against the Myanmar government over its selective treatment, abuse and killings of the predominantly Muslim Rohingya community.
But Kiai, a Kenyan-born activist, academic and lawyer expressed worry about Putrajaya’s selective persecution against civilians and activists.
“We don’t want Malaysians to go on the streets, but after they are done, we then hear them being summoned, summoned and summoned, and some are being jailed, being held under terrorism charges,” he said referring to Bersih 2.0 chairman, Maria Chin Abdullah’s detention under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Act 747).
Kiai warned that while such detentions are meant to induce fear among the public, it would only work in the reverse effect.
Last month, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said that the police have not ruled out the possibility of re-arresting activist Maria under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012 over the Bersih 5 rally.
New Straits Times (NST) quoted Khalid saying that the PAA investigation against the head of electoral reform group Bersih 2.0, which organised the street demonstration on November 19, was separate from the ongoing investigation under Sosma.
He added that the police have gathered enough information on Maria after she was released yesterday, 10 days since she was detained under Sosma on November 18.