Naypyidaw's commitment to resolve Rohingya issue following Najib's relentless pursuit, a showcase of Asean solidarity

ARNAZ M. KHAIRUL and BY ALIZA SHAH

PETALING JAYA: Myanmar’s commitment to resolve the Rohingya issue, which had seen more than 600,000 Rohingya displaced from their homes is not only reflective of Asean’s unity, but the strength of its members’ voice, particularly Malaysia’s.

Umno information chief Tan Sri Annuar Musa said the fact that Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi committed to Southeast Asian leaders that her country would bring back Rohingya refugees after it signed an agreement with its neighbour Bangladesh, was evident that members of the regional alliance was able to come to a consensus over complex issues, without the need for outside interference.

Annuar said the latest milestone attained in tackling Rohingya issue, was also attributed to efforts initiated by Malaysia, in particular Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s relentless pursuit of the matter, at regional and international platforms.


(Left to right) Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha chat before posing for photos during the ASEAN-EU 40th Anniversary Commemorative Summit at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila, Philippines. REUTERS

"It is important that Suu Kyi has made a stand, as it shows that despite the escalating global pressure over the situation, Myanmar remains in solidarity with fellow Asean members.

"If it had not been forthcoming, Malaysia would have had to look into other means of providing humanitarian aid, including via the United Nations ... It’s a humanitarian issue that needs to be solved and we should work together to solve it,” he said.

Annuar said with the latest development in the issue, he hoped that Suu Kyi would follow through the commitment with utmost sincerity.

"There is no use if they allow in humanitarian aid, but at the same time continue the violence against the Rohingya.

"No government apparatus should be involved in violence against the Rohingya," he said.

Suu Kyi had during the 31st Asean Summit plenary session, given her government’s commitment to resolve issue.

Najib had on the sidelines of the Summit told the media that Suu Kyi had committed to allowing humanitarian aid into Rakhine and discuss with the Bangladeshi government on the repatriation of the refugees.

Annuar was speaking after appearing on TV3's Soal Jawab programme today, where he also touched on issues faced by Umno as well as its preparedness ahead of the 14th general elections.

Malaysia has been at the forefront in raising the plight of the Rohingya at regional and international levels. Meanwhile, Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation Malaysia (MERHROM) said it had its concerns, particularly of Myanmar not keeping to their word in resolving the issue but continue to harm the minority group.

Its president Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani said they would only agree to be repatriated, if the Myanmar government could provide a guarantee that the persecution of the Rohingya community would end.

“This is not the first time they made such a commitment.. In 1979, the then Bangladeshi prime minister Sheik Mujibur Rahman made an agreement with Myanmar to allow the Rohingya refugees to be repatriated, however months later, violence broke out again.

“Agreements were also made in 1994 and 2004.. My brother when he went back (to Rakhine) but after a month they had to escape to Bangladesh because they were brutally beaten and tortured,” he said.

The Myanmar government, Zafar said should prove their commitment by stopping brutalising the Rohingya and accept them as one of Myanmar’s ethnic groups.

“How can they claim that they are willing to accept us, when our houses are still being burnt down and our women and children raped? “They must accept the Rohingya as an ethnic group, rebuild our homes and compensate us for the atrocities and properties destroyed,” Zafar said adding that a formal agreement should signed between Naypyidaw and the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) to ensure the community could be repatriated and remain there safely.


Umno information chief Tan Sri Annuar Musa gesture during the TV3’s Soal Jawab programme. NUR ADIBAH AHMAD IZAM

“They have to make an agreement with the Bangladeshi government, not just the UNSC.

“Rohingyas everywhere, including those seeking shelter in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia an d other countries want to go home,” he said adding that his community was grateful to Malaysia for its relentless effort to highlight the plight of the Rohingya in Rakhine.

“I thank the Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for highlighting this humanitarian issue ... We hope Malaysia will continue to help us to resolve the issue once and for all,” he said. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd