REBUTTAL TO THE “MYANMAR TIMES” ON THE STATEMENT MADE BY U ZAW HTAY, DEPUTY DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE PRESIDENT’S OFFICE, MYANMAR
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs views with concern the humanitarian crisis in Rohingya, the spillover effect of which will affect the safety, security and standing of Malaysia, as Myanmar's ASEAN neighbour. It is in this context that Malaysia has allowed the Solidarity March to take place. As a neighbour and a responsible member of the international community, it is Malaysia's obligation to ensure that its ASEAN colleague takes proactive steps to prevent the matter from further deteriorating. Malaysia is well aware of the principles upon which ASEAN was built, being a founding member of the regional organisation.
In 2008, all ten member states of ASEAN adopted the ASEAN Charter, which binds the members to the international principles of the protection and promotion of human rights. Furthermore, all member states of ASEAN agreed to respond effectively, in accordance with the principle of comprehensive security, to threats, which the Rohingya issue poses to Malaysia's own security. The high number of Rohingya people in Malaysia (approximately 56,000) under the UNHCR banner, coupled with the hundreds of thousands in other neighbouring countries, makes this matter no longer an internal matter but an international matter. The fact that only one particular ethnicity is being driven out is by definition ethnic cleansing.
This practice must stop, and must be stopped immediately in order to bring back security and stability to the Southeast Asian region. Malaysia need not remind U Zaw Htay of the 2015 boat people crisis which eventually became a regional issue with Myanmar's neighbours taking the brunt of the burden. It is with this in mind that Malaysia has repeatedly offered its assistance to the Myanmar government in finding a solution for a just and durable immediate solution to the persecution of the Rohingya in Northern Rakhine.
This in keeping with Malaysia's position that this is not a religious issue but an immediate humanitarian concern.
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRSPUTRAJAYA3 December 2016