PUTRAJAYA, March 15 — Malaysia, as a responsible member of the international community, will continue to play its part to contribute to efforts in addressing the plight that has befallen the Rohingya Muslims minority in Myanmar.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Malaysia was also trying to encourage members of the international community to contribute to the effort to alleviate the suffering of the Rohingyas.
“Malaysia and other countries sharing the same concern on the Rohingya issue have provided humanitarian assistance to our Rohingya Muslim brothers and sisters,” he said in his special address during dinner in conjunction with the International Conference on Rohingya 2017’ here tonight.
Among the assistance provided by Malaysia were a RM10 million contribution to assist in humanitarian efforts and social rehabilitation projects in Rakhine state, and a humanitarian mission called ‘Food Flotilla for Myanmar’ in February this year, he said.
Anifah believed that the international community’s efforts to urge and encourage the Myanmar government to alleviate the plight and suffering of the Rohingyas had borne fruit.
“It is reported the Myanmar army has halted its security operations in Rakhine and ended a four-month crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim community,” he said.
Anifah said Malaysia had emphasised in the past that beyond the humanitarian aspect, its concern about the plight of the Rohingya arose from the fact that so many of them braved great dangers to come to its shores.
He said the movement of the refugees to Malaysia remained an issue to be dealt with, and as of February, there were 149,496 Persons of Concern registered with UNHCR in Malaysia including a total of 56,458 were Rohingyas and the rest were Myanmars.
“Despite not being a state party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, Malaysia has been consistently providing assistance to the Rohingyas on humanitarian and compassionate grounds,” he said.
He said during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on September 24 last year (2016), Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi took the opportunity to highlight the problem pertaining to the resettlement of the existing refugee population in Malaysia to third countries.
“The lengthy delays in resettlement of refugees would inevitably result in economic, social, political and security problems to the host countries,” he said.
Malaysia, he said, therefore urged the UNHCR and other states parties to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its related protocols to give serious attention and promptly act on the matter.
The conference, which is participated by 180 delegates from Asean and Muslim countries, will analyse the refugees issue and its impact on the world geopolitics, besides proposing short and long-term strategic solutions for resolving the Rohingya refugees issue.
It is jointly organised by the Institute of Public Security of Malaysia, Amal Foundation of Malaysia, the International Federation of Relief and Development, and the International Union of Muslim Scholars. — Bernama