Rohingyas won’t be sent to Sarawak

Riot says federal cabinet meeting decides refugees fleeing Myanmar will not be sent to the state, allays fears raised by fake news on social media

Dato Sri Richard Riot Jaem

KUCHING: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has assured that Rohingyas fleeing persecution and violence in the Rakhine state of Myanmar into Malaysia will not be resettled in Sarawak.

This was disclosed by Human Resources Minister Dato Sri Richard Riot Jaem who said in a statement yesterday that fears raised by a fake news posting which went viral on social media that the refugees would be sent to Bau and Serian were unfounded.

Riot, who is also Serian MP, said he had brought up the issue during the cabinet meeting in Putrajaya yesterday and was assured by Zahid that the news was not true.

“The federal cabinet has given its commitment and assurance that if there were Rohingyas seeking refuge in Malaysia, they would not be sent to Bau and Serian as claimed in the viral social media postings.”

The minister urged people in the state not to believe and be alarmed by the fake news disseminated on social media.

“The claim of Rohingyas being sent to Sarawak is false and those who have received such news via social media platforms are urged to lodge reports with the authorities so that proper investigations can be taken,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg refused to comment on the issue as he dismissed the posting as fake news..

“We don’t want to be involved (masuk campur),” he told reporters  when asked to comment on the social media postings which had become a hotly debated issue of late after officiating the International Unimas STEM Engineering Conference (EnCon) 2017 here yesterday.

Asked if such claims that the Rohingya refugees would be sent to the two districts here were true, he replied it was not true and asked how the posts came about in the first place.

“Who started it? Nya la ku hairan (I’m also baffled),” he said.

Several leaders here had earlier made their stand against the resettlement of the Rohingya refugees in the state .

Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong was reported as saying that there must not be any attempt to bring over Rohingya refugees to Sarawak as such move would not be good for the state if it (social media postings on the claim) were true.

Both Bukit Semuja assemblyman John Ilus and Serembu assemblyman Miro Simuh also dismissed the news as “a rumour, a spam intended to disrupt racial harmony in the state.”

John had described such postings as irresponsible as “they could create racial tension and divide the people” while Miro called for a report to be made against the posting of the fake news on social media.

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