YANGON: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s presence at a pro-Rohingya rally in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday (Dec 4) has drawn protests in Myanmar.
Najib’s speech during the rally about fighting the “genocide” of Rohingya Muslims was not helpful, a Myanmar official told Channel NewsAsia. “What he said in Malaysia is not true,” said Nyan Win, a member of Myanmar’s Kuala Lumpursecretariat. “We’re trying to solve (this) with the international supporters. But it’s our choice, no other country can make (a) decision about our country.”
U Zaw Htay, deputy director general of the President’s Office, told The Myanmar Times that the government would issue an official response objecting to Najib’s participation in the protest in Kuala Lumpur.
He also told the paper that Najib’s actions could stoke religious extremism, and that he was using the issue to score political points among Malaysian citizens.
The comments followed a protest in Myanmar led by Buddhist monks against Najib. About 150 people, led by Buddhist monks from the Nationalist Monk Association, gathered in Sule Pagoda in the city of Yangon, holding banners and chanting.
Malaysia has been increasingly critical of Myanmar’s handling of violence and allegations of state abuses in northern Rakhine state, which has driven hundreds of ethnic Rohingya to flee across the borders to Bangladesh.
Najib on Sunday told a rally in Kuala Lumpur that “the world cannot just sit by and watch genocide taking place”. He added that he was going to ask Indonesia to rally in solidarity with the Rohingya as well, and said he wanted more Malaysians to come out and protest.
Malaysia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry described the violence as “ethnic cleansing” on Saturday, and Najib called on the United Nations, the International Criminal Court and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to intervene.