KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will not keep mum in the face of escalating violence against the Rohingyas in Myanmar.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak vowed today that Malaysia will do whatever it takes and act through whatever means possible to stop the violence against the Rohingyas, which he described as lacking in humanity.
“What do they (Myanmar) expect us to do? They want me to close my eyes? They want me to remain quiet? I will not close my eyes and mouth. Enough is enough!” he said at the Solidarity for Rohingya assembly held at the Titiwangsa Stadium today.
“We must defend and protect the Rohingyas. They are human, too. We will continue to act through whatever channel, we will pressure them, we will fight to the end,” Najib told the assembly attended by some 15,000 people, half of whom were Rohingyas residing here.
The assembly, organised by Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia, saw Umno and PAS sharing the same stage amid talks of possible political cooperation after PAS left the now-defunct Pakatan Rakyat.
Among others present were deputy prime minister and Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan and several other leaders from both parties.
Najib said he was aware of a statement by the Myanmar government on Friday that it would regard him as interfering with its internal affairs should he attend the assembly, but stressed that he was unfazed.
“They are threatening me; they issued a warning to me, but I don’t care! I am here not as Najib, but in the name of ummah and Malaysia as a whole,” said Najib, who is also Umno president.
He also noted that while the Asean Charter states that there shouldn’t be any interference in another country’s personal affairs, it also touches on protecting human rights.
“I think they (Myanmar) only read one chapter, and did not read the rest. Are they blind? Don’t simply interpret based on your own whims,” he said.
Najib divulged that he recently assigned Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman to Naypyidaw, Myanmar to meet with its leader Aung San Suu Kyi to discuss the Rohingya issue, but was told off by the latter.
“Suu Kyi said, ‘if you want to see me on bilateral issues, okay. But if you want to discuss Rohingya, then no’. What’s the meaning of community of nations in Asean then? What’s the meaning of being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?” Najib asked.
He urged international organisations such as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the United Nations to intervene and take immediate action to stop the violence against the Rohingyas.
“When hundreds of thousands died in Bosnia and Rwanda, the world watched. The world waited, and acted too late. This time, we are not willing to wait and watch,” Najib said.
Meanwhile, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said the crisis in Myanmar should not only see Malaysia but other countries that have signed the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights calling for action.
“Where are the other big nations with power? What’s happening in Myanmar is uncivilised, and requires international intervention,” he said.