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Thursday, April 30, 2020

YOURSAY | ‘Take care of Rohingyas if we must, but not at the nation’s peril’

Malaysiakini

YOURSAY | ‘You can be kind-hearted but have a plan in place.’
MS: The Rohingya situation, as far as Malaysian, especially Malay politicians, are concerned was never a purely humanitarian issue. It was seized upon, branded and championed as a Muslim cause by opportunistic politicians (some of whom are now in the dock) who saw the opportunity to make political capital and burnish their Islamic credentials.
It was the same impulse that shaped our policies towards the Palestinians and, during the war in Bosnia- Herzegovina, towards Muslim Albanians and Bosnian Muslims.
To underscore the above, there was no such compelling "humanitarian" urge among politicians here in the case of Vietnam and Sri Lanka when refugees facing similar genocidal regimes there sought refuge here.
Both were deemed to be internal matters of those countries and any show of support to those on the receiving end, overt or covert, was actively discouraged… some, as we know, with imprisonment without trial as recently as last year, some 18 years after the war was over.
That ought to explain why many Malaysians do not see a humanitarian problem but one carefully-branded as a Muslim problem to build a base among semi-educated Malays who are perpetually made to suffer from a siege mentality.
Next, the current situation with Malaysians losing their jobs in startling numbers as well as their hopes for any meaningful future as the economy appears to slide into an abyss.
With incomes disappearing or shrinking at best, any talk of taking in refugees to share a shrinking economy and resources will receive the pushback we are seeing. And we should see more of that as the crisis worsens.
In the best of times, a refugee or foreign worker or undocumented migrant will be tolerated or made use of so long as they remain out of sight while doing the downright dirty and dangerous jobs.
In a crisis such as this, when congested migrant colonies in decrepit "mansions" and urban slums become the focus of health authorities, you should expect the kind of xenophobia we are now seeing on social media.
Anonymous_16760865429524: How many Rohingya refugees do we have in Malaysia? How did they get in – legally or illegally?
What is the rate of that population increase year on year? What job sectors are they in? How and where are they housed? Where are they concentrated?
Is there a socio-economic framework to sustain this community? How is it funded? How are these people integrated into society and how do they contribute to the economy?
What are our plans - short term and long term - for these people if we let them in? What plans are there to address Covid-19 infection among this community?
Until today, no one has looked into these questions about Rohingya demographics and impact assessment in Malaysia.
All the NGOs say, let them in. Wave after wave. Boat after boat. Before we even talk about letting in more and more, shouldn’t we study the demographics and social and economic impact of those already here and look into planning on how to handle new refugees if they are let in?
If you want to let guests into your house, surely you need to find out which room is available, budget some money to feed them, determine what they will do to contribute to the household, and how long their stay will be.
Do you just let in anyone who comes to your door with a begging bowl? Being humanitarian doesn’t mean being stupid.
Let’s assume we want to let them in on a humanitarian basis, surely this must be done systematically and based on data, studies, policies with a framework and plan in place for these people. Surely it can’t be just let them in each time there is a boat.
You can be kind-hearted but have a plan in place. To say let them in and sort out the details later is very ignorant. The problem doesn’t magically disappear after you have let them in. It creates new issues.
These are people, not objects to be stored in a warehouse and after the job is done, let in the next boat.
Anonymous_1537050742: What is wrong with PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang? Now that he and his party is part of the government, why can't they let the Rohingya boat land and take in the refugees?
He has all the means and resources at his disposal to help the Rohingya refugees if he wants to. Why shift the blame to others?
His voters and supporters should hold him and PAS accountable if they do not push through with his dream of implementing hudud law in the coming days and months in Malaysia.
Amanah chief Mohamad Sabu, you should keep chiding him and reminding him of his sacred duty to implement the hudud law. Please do not let him wriggle out of this issue.
PW Cheng: Please take care of our own people, especially the indigenous people. Fighting over the Rohingya, as we all know, is only for political expediency.
We had not forgotten what happened to the Vietnamese boat people. Hadi, don’t try to portray yourself as a humane person. Your chicanery can only be sucked up by the ignorant Muslims even though it’s a big sin to keep on making them ignorant and servile. Try your stunts on the educated and see how far you can go.
Your huge appetite for power is immeasurable and trying to feign that you are benevolent when, in fact, you are diabolical is a far greater sin. Maybe you can try your skills with the Arabs and see how far you can go.
Anonymous_1584941562804.76681584941104577: There's now a competition among the leaders, both ruling coalition and the opposition, to see who has done more for these so-called refugees who paid middlemen in Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh to come here.
Why are we not paying attention to poor Malaysians in urban and rural areas? Their situation is getting worse by the day with the movement control order (MCO).
Our country is facing an acute shortage of funds and resources to deal with our own economic problems and we simply cannot afford to take these economic migrants.
Mano: Can we get over this and take care of our citizens? And can we treat the Rohingyas the same way we had treated the Vietnamese refugees?
Accepting them is going to cause further influx. Hadi, if you truly care, please ask the very rich Saudi Arabia and the other Middle Eastern countries to take them. That would be true Islamic brotherhood.  - Mkini

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