Dr Mahathir urges Muslim countries to save Rohingyas in Myanmar
Posted on August 11, 2012, Saturday
KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has urged Islamic nations to jointly play a role to help end the misery of the Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar.
The former prime minister said Malaysian efforts alone could not solve the problem.
“Nevertheless, if the effort comes from all Muslims, Islamic nations and other countries, I am confident the United Nations (UN) will take action to save the Rohingyas,” he told reporters after a symbolic handing over of clean water through the ‘WaqafWater4Gaza’ yesterday.
He was asked to comment on a claim by the Saudi Arabian government that Myanmar, whose populace was mostly Buddhists, was carrying out ethnic cleansing of the Muslim Rohingyas in the country.
Dr Mahathir also hoped the Myanmar government, which had now opened its doors to democracy, would be considerate over the fate befalling the Rohingyas.
In a related development, he said he had written a letter to Myanmar’s icon of democracy and human rights activist Aung Sang Suu Kyi, five days ago, seeking her intervention in the issue.
“She is influential and I hope she will say something to solve the problem,” he added.
Suu Kyi, the winner of the Nobel Peace prize, was recently reported as saying, “I don’t know”, when asked whether the Rohingyas were citizens of Myanmar.
The aggression in Rakhine between Buddhists and Muslim Rohingyas had left 80 people killed since June.
The Myanmar government has classified the Rohingyas as Bengali Muslims who entered from Bangladesh, and does not recognise them as citizens of Myanmar.
In Georgetown, the South East Asia Inter-Religious Dialogue For Peace has called on Asean to pressure the Myanmar government so that legal action could be taken, in lieu of the killing of Rohingya Muslims in that country.
Its chairman Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa said this was because the killing of the Rohingya Muslims was indeed, inhumane and deemed wrong and sinful in any religion.
“Apart from that, the Rohingya Muslims have also been denied citizenship and the right to live, as well as to education, health, social, economy and religion,” he told a media conference yesterday.
He said the Myanmar government should also be urged to solve the citizenship issues concerning the Rohingya Muslims.
“They have been living as migrants in their own country, when in reality, they deserve better treatment based on human rights,” he added.
Mujahid said, plans were underway to propose to the Myanmar government to allow non-governmental organisations in Southeast Asia to channel aid and assistance to the Rohingya Muslims. — Bernama