Hishammuddin: Rohingya issue should be dealt properly to avoid further influx of refugees

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The issue of Rohingya have to be dealt properly under the current situation in Myanmar to avoid further influx of refugees into Malaysia and neighbouring countries, says Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

"In Malaysia, we have 200,000 Rohingyas...can you imagine if the situation in Myanmar worsens and we have influx of more Rohingyas into our shores?

Hishammuddin said he and his Asean counterparts have been working out ways on how to resolve the situation unfolding in the troubled nation since the Feb 1 coup that ousted the civilian government.

"Rohingyas comprise only 1% of the overall 80% refugees around the world who are Muslims," he said in his opening remarks during the meet and greet session with heads of mission from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states here on Monday (April 19).

Also present Hishammuddin's deputy, Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar.

On a related note, Hishammuddin said the growth of Islamophobia has been a cause for concern, where Muslims have been subjected to continuous and unjustified defamation and prejudices.

"Indeed, Islamophobia traps the world in a vicious cycle. The net result is continued hatred," he said, adding many of the ills facing the Muslim world were self-inflicted.

The minister also noted that there is an impression that global terrorism and extremism has gone quiet under Covid-19’s shadow with the media now obsessed with stories on the pandemic.

"In the past year, we have been so preoccupied with the coronavirus, but terrorism and extremism continues unabated, albeit silently.

"It is true we have successfully dealt with two waves of global terrorist attacks over the past two decades, but we have not successfully dealt with the underlying source which is a ‘war on the hearts and minds’ of our young Muslims around the world, ” he added.

He pointed out the Muslim world has to get its priorities right with poverty, hunger and ignorance should not allowed to exist in a Muslim country, what more some of the poorest countries in the world were Muslim, with a sizeable number of the Ummah living in poverty.

"So, where do we go from here? The key is for us to accept our differences, find common ground on the problems we face, and move forward together. We can either choose to remain victims on the side-lines, or do something about it and take our place in the world,"” he said.

Meanwhile, Hishammuddin said access to the vaccine is an integral element of human rights that must be respected, protected and fulfilled and there should be no element of discrimination imposed by countries on the different types of vaccines received by people.

"Malaysia believes that countries should not discriminate inoculated persons based on the type of vaccines they received," he added. - Bernama

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