KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — The government should not turn away Rohingya refugees and leave them hungry, PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim stressed today as Malaysians on social media continue to hurl spite against the persecuted minority.
Anwar, in his daily live session, said it is saddening to hear the news that Malaysia turned away a boat full of Rohingya refugees from Malaysian waters last week, even as Umno and PAS had previously held a mega rally in support of the Myanmar outcasts.
“I saw this political party, before they became the government, they used to say this is for the Rohingya and all that. Now we send home drowning and hundreds of people are dead. So I think we should safeguard our humanity.
“As we guard our borders, we cannot let people die, moreover they are the victim of tyranny by their own government. Then, when the run was stopped by this so-called Islamic country, [and] they ended in a big tragedy,” he said, referring to the Rohingya.
“I hope the government will consider keeping them in the form of limited controls but not evict them until they drown or leave them starving,” he added.
Saya respon tentang isu pelarian Rohingya dan pekerja asing. Meski hujah-hujah yang berlegar antaranya lebih kepada berunsur kebencian, maka hilang sikap belas dan hancurlah kemanusiaan.
In a tweet with the video of his remarks, Anwar also lamented that recent arguments against the Rohingya slant towards hatred, signalling a loss of empathy and humanity among critics of the ethnic group.
On April 18, the Human Rights Watch reported that the Royal Malaysian Navy turned back a boat carrying about 200 Rohingya women, men and children, while reportedly providing food to those on board two days prior.
Representative of Malaysia to the Asean Intergovernmental Commission of Human Rights Eric Paulsen criticised Malaysia and Thailand’s authorities for refusing entry for the boat as reports on 20-30 of them died at the sea emerged.
The European Rohingya Council Ambassador to Malaysia Tengku Emma Zuriana Tengku Azmi has also on April 22 called on governments in the region to allow them immediate safe disembarkation, especially Asean members to urgently agree to emergency measures to prevent another humanitarian crisis, while accommodating governments’ existing Covid-19 restrictions at their borders.
Meanwhile, Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan claimed Malaysia has “far exceeded” its capacity to host refugees as some parts of Malaysian cities have become “too concentrated with refugees” and resources to take care of their welfare have been depleted.
The issue was also being debated in Malaysia’s social media with xenophobic and racist comments emerging against the Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation Malaysia president Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani and the community.
In addition, there is also an online petition campaign urging the government to ignore tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees affected by the movement control order.