Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak may have emerged as a human rights activist for the Rohingya in Myanmar but Malaysia deserves his advocacy too, said Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong.
"I urge the Najib government not to just work on the Rohingya issue, but to take a principled stand as a leader and taking an activist role on human rights issues, including in Malaysia," said the DAP lawmaker.
For example, Liew said Putrajaya should look into the human rights needs of refugees in this country, including the Rohingya.
He noted that Malaysia's representative to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Syed Hamid Albar had proposed a registration system for the Rohingya community which would allow them access to work and education.
However, he said the plan was insufficient as it should cover all refugees in the country.
"It shouldn’t just be for the Rohingya in Malaysia, it should be for all refugees based on the UN refugees covenant.
"We are not part of it. We should be part of it, and we should handle the Rohingyas and the others based on the UN covenant and not based on our own rules," he told a press conference at the PKR headquarters in Petaling Jaya.
At present, it was estimated that there was some one million Rohingya in Malaysia who have fled their homes in Myanmar to escape persecution.
Putrajaya has refused to recognise the Rohingya community here as refugees, therefore they have no access to proper education and healthcare.
Liew said Najib taking on the role of an international activist in voicing out for the Rohingya was welcomed but was cautious about the matter.
“We welcome it cautiously, but we think it should be based on principle and not just an opportunist move,” said Liew.
'Get tough with Syria too'
Meanwhile, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said her party supports Asean’s initiative to discuss the current Rohingya crisis and wanted member nations to take a firmer stance.
“We urge for an end to the violence against the Rohingya and to step up humanitarian efforts and assistance,” said Wan Azizah, who is also opposition leader.
Wan Azizah also called on Putrajaya to take a similarly strong stance over the violence in Aleppo.
"We also urge Malaysia to condemn the atrocities perpetrated by (Syrian president) Bashar al-Assad and his allies towards the Syrian people.
"The human tragedy witnessed in Aleppo must never be allowed to happen again," she said.
The six-year Syrian civil war had claimed an estimated 300,000 lives.
Syrian regime forces, backed by Iran and Russia, have been bombarding rebelled-controlled Aleppo in a bid to retake the city.- Mkini