Malaysia’s vocal position on Rohingya won’t affect role in seeking long-term solution
BY AZURA ABAS – 15 DECEMBER 2016
PUTRAJAYA: The Foreign Ministry today dismissed claims that Malaysia’s vocal position on the plight of the Rohingya could prevent it from playing a credible role in seeking a long-term solution in the conflict in Myanmar.
The ministry believes that its outspoken position of the issue had led to Myanmar hosting an Asean foreign ministers’ retreat next Monday (Dec 19) to discuss the situation in the northern Rakhine state.
“Myanmar’s willingness to address the criticism head-on is a change of tact for the country, as was the change in Malaysia’s tone in dealing with Myanmar.
“We welcome this positive development and (Foreign Minister) Datuk Seri Anifah Aman is prepared to discuss with his Myanmar counterpart, Aung San Suu Kyi on how Malaysia can assist Myanmar in finding a just, expeditious and durable solution to the protracted issue in the northern Rakhine State,” Wisma Putra said in a statement.
It also reiterated that Malaysia is gravely concerned with the recent developments in the state, which had resulted in the loss of innocent lives and the displacement of people.
“Malaysia is concerned that if the crisis in northern Rakhine State is not addressed urgently by the Myanmar government, it will impact the security and stability of the region, including Malaysia.”
The exodus of more refugees to neighbouring countries, including Malaysia, would witness a repeat of the 2015 boat people crisis, it added.
During the 2015 boat people crisis, Malaysia played an instrumental role by swiftly convening a tripartite meeting with Indonesia and Thailand which was held at Wisma Putra and led by Anifah in May 2015 to discuss and resolve the issue.
The outcome of the meeting saw Malaysia and Indonesia agreeing to provide humanitarian assistance and temporary shelter to the 7000 boat people stranded along the three countries’ maritime borders while awaiting resettlement or repatriation.
Malaysia’s leading role in this instance led to a resolution of the crisis and saved innocent lives.
That is why Malaysia views the current situation in the northern Rakhine State as no longer an ‘internal affair’ but one of regional consequence, said the ministry.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Sri Anifah Aman at the Coucial of Forign Ministers Emergency Session 17 November 2016 Makkah, Saudi Arabia. The Foreign Ministry today dismissed claims that Malaysia’s vocal position on the plight of the Rohingya could prevent it from playing a credible role in seeking a long-term solution in the conflict in Myanmar. NSTP Pix