A prominent social activist in Malaysia has urged her countrymen to organise emergency aid for migrants stranded at sea, according to local media reports
Calling for a temporary solution, Marina Mahtir asked people with seaworthy boats to mobilise relief items and medical personnel
This mission is the first tangible aid that any party has offered the helpless migrants.
Some Malaysians were already successful in collecting the necessary supplies but it is not clear if they have been cleared by authorities.
Activists have also set up a base in the resort island of Langkawi from where the Malaysian navy have pushed away a boat full of migrants in face of growing international and local condemnation.
Other groups have also been requested to coordinate with MERCY Malaysia.
In a Facebook post, Marina also urged:
“PLEASE do not get into boats and make your way out to the open sea to find boat people to help… we don’t know where they are exactly …our navy (and maybe other navies) may not look too kindly on this and you may get into big trouble for doing that.”
She also called on citizens to appeal to the government to get pregnant women, children, the elderly and the sick off those boats for medical treatment.
Marina said the Malaysian government had to take a stand as the chair of Asean to “lobby the wider international community and the UN to put pressure on the Burmese government on the genocide they are inflicting on the Rohingyas”.
“People cannot be floating on the open sea forever. These are human beings in totally miserable conditions. Compassion must be our priority.”
“Do we want floating boats of dead people on our conscience?”
Meanwhile a prominent religious figure in Malaysia, Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin blasted those Malaysian Muslims who were refusing to allow migrants on their shores.
“When European countries that are not even Muslims try to save refugees in their waters, we who overdo it with a ‘salawat perdana’ (mass prayer) that cost hundred of thousands, are willing to watch people die out at sea because we fear our prosperity being shared by others,” he said.
“If a disaster did not befall them, surely they would not risk their lives. But because of our greed, our fear that our prosperity will be shared by others, we cast them out to fight for their lives out at sea,” the popular Islamic scholar said on his Facebook page.
Based on reports by the malay mail online and free malaysia today