Burma Times Correspondent: May 31, 2015
Rohingya community leaders met with government officials in Maungdaw town on Saturday to discuss the prospects of voting in the upcoming general election.
Many Rakhine community leaders belonging to the ruling USDP party were also seen in the meeting.
Rohingya Muslims were allowed to vote in the 2010 elections when they mostly voted for the USDP. Since then they have been disillusioned with the party as their conditions have worsened dramatically under the reformist government.
This year, Rohingyas were disallowed from voting in the upcoming referendum on the constitution, in face of mass protests led by monks affiliated to nationalist movements. It is still not clear whether they will be allowed to vote in the general elections.
During the meeting, Rohingya leaders presented these problem factors and also said sarcastically if non-citizens should indeed be given the vote. In response, Lawaka officials said the government is going screen everyone and give them the green card if they can prove their residence in this country. They will however have to identify themselves as Bengali, and must not insist they are Rohingya.
The green card is given to naturalised foreigners such as the Hindus of Arakan state. It does not have the same status as the pink card given to full citizens such as the Rakhines, but higher in rank than the white card which Rohingyas have been holding for the last few decades until this March.