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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Bukit Malut people are Malays, not Rohingya, says Dr M

 

Bukit Malut folk are Malays who migrated to Thailand and Myanmar but later moved back, says Mahathir Mohamad. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: The residents of Bukit Malut, where a new international race track is being planned, are essentially Malays and not migrants, Langkawi MP Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

The inhabitants of the area on the south of the island were not ethnic Rohingya as widely reported. They were actually nomadic Malays who migrated to Thailand and Myanmar before settling in Langkawi.

The former premier said the issue of the settlement as a hotbed of illegals has often been played up without proper understanding of the origins of the people there.

“Initially, there were not many people at Bukit Malut, but as the years went by the numbers increased as their families grew larger.

“Nearly 80% of them are fishermen who rely on marine life for a living, supplying fish to Langkawi and as far as Kelantan. They are self-sufficient and have not relied on the government.

“The people of Bukit Malut are not Rohingya as perceived, but merely Malays who migrated to Thailand and Myanmar and later moved back here. They all speak Malay well,” he said.

Mahathir said the people there were not against plans by the government to relocate them elsewhere so that they would have proper water supply, electricity and roads.

Kedah menteri besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor has said the inhabitants of the settlements, who he called “illegal settlers” would be moved to another area in Langkawi. He is planning to build a multimillion ringgit race track and resort in the area.

He claimed the inhabitants were occupying government land and hill land illegally, saying the National Security Council had been informed of this matter.

Several Malay dailies have reported that at least 10,000 people, all Myanmar nationals, have been living at a mangrove forest reserve there, upsetting the locals.

The energy and natural resources ministry has since pledged to look into relocating them elsewhere, for fear that the precious mangrove lands would be encroached into. - Mkini

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