DOHA: Qatar is the latest Islamic country to come forward to support Malaysia in its humanitarian project to help the Rohingya community that has sought refuge in the country.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the Qatar government had agreed to provide special funds for Malaysia to aid the refugees in three areas – primary school education, skill-training, and medical and healthcare.
“The agreement to channel funds is a positive response from Qatar to Malaysia’s ongoing efforts in resolving issues regarding the Rohingya.
“The Qatar government is very appreciative of the Prime Minister (Najib Razak)’s role in assisting the Rohingya community,” he told Malaysian journalists here.
Zahid who is also Home Minister is in Qatar on a four-day working visit since Feb 4.
This is Zahid’s first visit to the richest country in the world since being appointed as deputy prime minister in July last year.
Zahid said Qatar’s commitment was secured after a series of meetings between him and the country’s top leadership.
He said the sponsorship for the humanitarian project, expected to involve millions of ringgit, would be channeled through the Qatar Development Fund (QDF), for Rohingya refugees and their families in Malaysia with UNHCR cards.
The funds, he said, would be used to implement three projects involving skill training in the plantation and manufacturing sectors, pre-school and primary schools for Rohingya children, and a health insurance scheme.
Zahid said the Malaysian National Security Council had been entrusted to coordinate with the relevant ministries, departments, government agencies and non-governmental organisations in ensuring smooth implementation of the projects.
He said the skill training would help the Rohingya community become semi-skilled or skilled workers, and while waiting for the conflict back home to end, they could find jobs in the relevant sectors in Malaysia.
He said Qatar also requested that Malaysia initiate co-operation with NGOs run by Myanmar citizens in the country in the aspect of preschool and primary school education for the Rohingya children.
Malaysia has been championing the plight of the minority Rohingya in Myanmar against continuous discrimination, and the latest endeavour by its top leadership was to send a humanitarian vessel loaded with thousands of metric tonnes of food and emergency provisions to Myanmar for the deprived community.