On January 19, 2017 Malaysia hosted an “Extra ordinary session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on the situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar“at the Kuala Lumpur convention centre. Based on the title of this extraordinary meeting of the OIC Foreign Minister, it is suffice to say that the main purpose of the meeting is self-explanatory.
The whole idea behind this meeting is certainly to let the international community to realise the seriousness of the humanitarian tragedy that has taken place in Myanmar for the last several years, and that there needs to be a positive and constructive effort by the international community to end this tragedy.
Why is Malaysia hosting this meeting? Why is Malaysia taking up the issues about the plights of the Rohingya people of Myanmar?
Today, there are more than 100,000 Rohingnya people in Malaysia. They are not in the country as tourists that help to contribute to the development of the wealth and the progress of the host country.
These Rohingya people are here as illegal immigrants. Why they are not repatriated?
They are here because we care. They are here because we are compassionate. They are here because we care for humanity.
Naturally, they will use up a lot of our resources as we have to provide for them.
They are supposed to progress, develop and enjoy their lives in their country, but prevailing circumstances there have prevented them from doing so.
The OIC Foreign Ministers’ meeting was called for as a response to the military crackdown in Rakhine state in Myanmar which had led to 66,000 people fleeing the country to Bangladesh. And there is no question that some of these people will end up as trafficked people and as illegal immigrant in Malaysia.
Malaysia’s foreign policy has always been that of non-interference. The country believes in peaceful co-existence with its neighbours.
There are reports of acts of atrocities been committed on the Rohingya people, including murders, rapes and other forms of violence.
As a good neighbour, it is imperative upon Malaysia to take the necessary steps to prevent these acts of atrocities to be continued to be carried out.
Towards the end of last year Malaysia organised a solidary match march with the Rohingya people in Kuala Lumpur.
The march was led by Prime Minister Dato Seri Najib Razak, and in his speech he described Myanmar as engaging in ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘genocide’.
For his speech, Myanmar accused the Prime Minister of promoting certain ‘political agenda’ and disregards the effort by the government of Myanmar in trying to address the issue.
For organising the OIC Foreign Minister’s meeting on the plights of the Rohingya people, Malaysia has been accused by Myanmar as meddling in its internal affairs.
Basically, what the Prime Minister is trying to do is to show how ethnically diverse country like Malaysia can have peace and harmony, as well as economic progress if there is a proper and appropriate public policy been planned and implemented.
Furnival has described Myanmar (or Burma) as a classic example of a plural society, where the people of different groups in the country only mixed at the market place.
Malaysia is a plural society too, but the people in the country have learned to work together as one unit. Under the Barisan Nasional system, the country has formed a multi-ethnic coalition that has successfully governed the country since its formation in 1963.
Malaysia understands that in order to have peace and harmony in the country, the biggest group in the country needs to share power with the smaller groups. This formula has brought progress and development and many successes to the country.
There has to exist mutual trust among the different groups of people. This needs to be built and nurtured, and Malaysia, through the BN system, has successfully established this mutual trust among the various ethnic groups in the country.
Ethnic fragmentation is not good for the country. Malaysia realised this right from the beginning, and this has helped the country to become one of Asia’s newly-industrialised economy. – Sarawakvoice