Aid flotilla for Rohingya in Myanmar to set sail in January

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 27 Dec 2016

Rohingya migrants pass food supplies dropped by a Thai army helicopter to others aboard a boat drifting in Thai waters off the southern island of Koh Lipe in the Andaman sea on May 14, 2015. - AFP

PETALING JAYA: A "Food Flotilla" will depart from Malaysia for the Rakhine state in Myanmar in January.

The flotilla is expected deliver almost 200 tonnes of rice, medical aid and other essential supplies to the state that fronts the Bay of Bengal.

The flotilla is expected to leave Port Klang on Jan 10 and is expected to return about two weeks later.

The flotilla is organised by the Malaysian Consultative Council of Islam Organisations (Mapim), Kelab Putra 1Malaysia and a coalition of NGOs from the region.

Mapim secretary-general Zulhanis Zainol told The Star Online that there are three scenarios the flotilla could face – allowed in to hand over the aid, told to turn back in Myanmar waters or even attacked by the Myanmar security forces.

He said that the main aim of the flotilla was to support the Rohingya communities in the towns of Maungdaw and Buthidaung.

"Access to the affected areas is completely blocked. This resembles Gaza as victims are squeezed between military attacks and closure of the border to a neighbouring country.

"As a result, all access is completely blocked and humanitarian agencies are not allowed to enter," said Zulhanis.

He estimated 200 participants for the flotilla, including NGO members, media practitioners, a medical team, former ministers, politicians, religious leaders, volunteers and the crew.

"We also want to bring a message of peace with the flotilla. It is not only a religious issue but a humanitarian one," said Zulhanis.

Foreign ministers from the Asean countries met for a retreat on Dec 19 in Yangon to discuss the Rohingya issue, which is a contentious issue in the region.

Malaysia's foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman reportedly said that unimpeded humanitarian access to the affected areas should be granted urgently,

Violence in the past few weeks against the Rohingya has resulted in at least 86 people being killed and with more than 30,000 displaced.

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 Rohingya 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 at three times that.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Did you find this article insightful?


Next In Nation

Walks around the village turn costly for two men under quarantine in Sabah
Khazanah and Petronas should expedite purchase of laptops, says Najib
Scammers impersonating friends or family to cheat people in PJ, say police
Terengganu MB thanks Selangor govt for RM500k contribution for flood recovery efforts
Vell Paari: MIC has no problems with PAS, has issues with ‘arrogant behaviour" of Kedah MB
Five charged with trafficking over RM340mil of drugs in Johor
Those feeling ill after coming from Covid-19 high-risk areas should be tested, says Sarawak health director
Mad rush for police permits ahead of strict enforcement in Sibu
Cops probe missing jewellery claim at Seremban hospital
Anwar files judicial review application to challenge govt decision over Emergency proclamation

Stories You'll Enjoy