Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today urged Myanmar to stop the persecution of the ethnic Rohingya, describing the situation as “craziest, madness crisis”.
In his closing speech at the international conference on Rohingya in Putrajaya today, Zahid reminded Myanmar of the 1946 speech of its father of independence, Major-General Aung San, on equality for the respective communities.
“We really hope that what is happening in Rakhine state will end soon.
“I would like to urge (Myanmar state counsellor) Aung San Suu Kyi and our friends in Myanmar to stop this craziest, madness, crisis and prove to Asean communities that they have a big heart that can accept Muslim-minority Rohingya as their citizens,” he added.
Zahid stressed that it was the responsibility of the government of Myanmar to protect its people.
The deputy prime minister and home minister also stressed that what has happened, and is continuing to occur, to the Rohingya was unacceptable.
“I believe the acts like burning, killing lives and violating human beings are not written in any religious scripture,” he said.
Pointing out how Buddhism teaches compassion and affection, Zahid cited the Dhammapada scripture, Verse 270, which states how “one who harms others cannot be called noble”.
“Significantly, Myanmar should know that their act is hazardous. It will raise and trigger the feelings of Muslim communities around the world,” he said.
Zahid noted that Myanmar had "ignored" Malaysia, which sent its diplomatic message protesting against the inhumane treatment of the Rohingya, despite the country having disputed the treatment of the Rohingya as "genocide" and "ethic cleansing".
“They told Asean countries not to interfere in their domestic political matters.”
Pointing out how Asean’s second objective was to promote regional peace and stability, Zahid said the scenario in Rakhine state was a direct contrast from the spirit and objectives of Asean.
'End this crisis immediately'
“Myanmar should end this crisis immediately. They have to stop killing human beings, burning houses and violation of women and girls must also stop.”
The three-day conference, which ends today, had aimed to analyse the Rohingya issue and its effects to global geopolitics.
Zahid had earlier confirmed that his meeting with Qatar had resulted in the that state agreeing to channel US$50 million, through the National Security Council and Malaysian NGOs, to help the Rohingya.
Myanmar authorities had said that their military launched a security sweep in response to what they claimed to be an attack on border posts near Myanmar's border with Bangladesh by Rohingya insurgents in October last year, in which nine police officers were killed.
Since then, at least 86 people have been killed and the United Nations says at least 66,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh.
Residents and refugees accuse the Myanmar military of killing, raping and detaining civilians while burning villages in northwestern Rakhine State.
However, the government has denied the accusations and insisted that a lawful counter-insurgency operation was underway.
About 56,000 Rohingya live in Malaysia, having fled unrest and persecution in Myanmar.
Malaysia continues to champion the plight of the Rohingya through its stance.
Some 10,000 people, including Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, attended a solidarity gathering in Kuala Lumpur last year to protest against state-sanctioned violence against the Rohingya community in Myanmar.
Najib also hosted a meeting of representatives from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) earlier this year, urging Myanmar to stop attacking and discriminating against the Rohingya minority.- Mkini