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Analyst: Malaysia can do more than organise rallies for Rohingya

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia can do much more for the Rohingya than just organise rallies for them, said a political analyst.

Centre for Global Affairs Malaysia (Icon) advisor Abdul Razak Baginda (pic) said Malaysia can bring up the issue with the UN Security Council.

He said China could reject the the resolution, but putting it on the table before the United Nations will create awareness on the international arena.

“Even if it is going to be vetoed, it doesn’t matter. The point is it is being raised by Malaysia,” he said at a forum on the plight of the Rohingya Thursday night.

He said Malaysia had for so long championed the rights of the Palestinians and more recently the Bosnians, receiving kudos for it.

“We can shout about the problems in Bosnia and Palestine, but they are so far way from us.

"Now, it’s happening at our doorstep. Surely we can do more than just organise rallies or even debate if we should or should not cancel a football match,” he said, adding that Malaysia should have boycotted the AFF Suzuki Cup match against Myanmar.

Razak said that while Asean's non-interference policy is good, a line should be drawn because there is "a clear case" of ethnic cleansing being carried out in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

“This is a humanitarian issue, not just about domestic politics,” he said, adding that Malaysia can also bring the issue to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Violence in the past few weeks against the Rohingya has resulted in at least 86 people being killed and displaced more 30,000. Many have tried fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh.

Myanmar troops poured into the western state of Rakhine in response to coordinated attacks on three border posts on Oct 9 that killed nine police officers.

Human rights groups have accused the military and border guard forces of raping Rohinya women, torching houses and killing civilians, although this has been denied by the Myanmar government and military.

Considered to be stateless and often subjected to arbitrary violence and forced labour in Myanmar, the Rohingya are considered by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

As of October this year, there are 54,586 Rohingya refugees registered with the UNHCR in Malaysia, although unofficial estimates put the number three times as high.

In May last year, the issue of Rohingya trafficking made headlines worldwide when they were stranded at sea after human trafficking syndicates abandoned them following the discovery of mass graves and detention camps at the Thai- Malaysia border.

Razak Baginda , Rohingya , Malaysia