Defence Minister worries over militant influence in Rohingya refugee crisis

Nor Azizah Mokhtar

KUALA LUMPUR: Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu has called on the United Nations to play a bigger role to resolve the plight of the Rohingya refugees, to ensure that they are drawn into militancy.

“We want the United Nations (UN) to play a bigger role as we are worried that the sufferings endured by the Rohingya may trigger some of them to be influenced by the jihadist's ideology promoted by the Islamic State (IS).

“One of the example was the hardship faced by Palestinians under the Israeli forces where the people had to use various methods to fight back, including becoming suicide bombers," he said after officiating the International Association for Counter-Terrorism and Security Professionals (IASCP) Asean Security Symposium here today.

He said faced with violent supression, similar consequence could also happen to the Rohingya people.

Mohamad said the Rohingya refugee crisis needed to be addressed immediately due to the potential risk of them being recruited by militants.

He said Malaysia and other countries in the region should take note of the humanitarian crisis which has spread around the Southeast Asian region.

He said there were more than 100,000 Rohingya seeking refuge in the country. It was reported that Bangladesh is now hosting more than a million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

Meanwhile, Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division principal assistant director Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said in 2015, his division managed to deport four individuals from Myanmar and Bangladesh who were planning an attack in Rakhine, Myanmar.

“Based on our intelligence report, we were able to make the arrests and deported them back to their respective countries.” said Ayob. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd