Bangkok: Plans are underway for a “food flotilla” to sail from Malaysia to Myanmar’s strife-torn western Rakhine state with emergency supplies for Rohingyas.
The shipment of 200 tonnes of rice, medical aid and other essential supplies appears to counter the long-held protocol of the 10-member Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) that countries should not interfere in each other’s internal affairs.
Escalating violence in Rakhine since October has left scores dead, villages razed and forced more than 34,000 Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh in what human rights groups say could amount to crimes against humanity by Myanmar security forces.
The Myanmar government denies the allegations.
Predominantly Muslim Malaysia has been the most outspoken of Myanmar’s neighbours over the treatment of Rohingyas, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority of more than one million in the Buddhist-majority country.
Almost 200,000 Rohingyas displaced by previous violence live in Malaysia, many of them labourers on building sites.