Malaysia will contribute RM10 million to assist in humanitarian efforts and social rehabilitation projects in Rakhine State said Prime Minister Najib Razak said.
The prime minister said the fund would be used to build infrastructure, such as educational and medical institutions, that would contribute to development there and improve the quality of life of its people.
“Malaysia will also continue to extend its support to human resource development through the Malaysia Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP).
“Currently, Myanmar is the largest recipient of the MTCP among ASEAN countries, and the capacity-building initiatives it provides are an important part of striving for a viable long-term solution.
“I encourage and welcome any pledge of assistance from other member states,” he said when delivering his keynote address at the Extraordinary Session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers on The Situation of The Muslim Minority Rohingyas in Kuala Lumpur today.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman and OIC Secretary-General Yousef Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, were among those who attended the session.
Najib said the assistance in Myanmar was not limited to Muslims but for all who needed it in the affected areas.
He pointed out that in recent years, Malaysia had been on the frontline as the country had been hosting around 56,000 displaced Rohingya men, women and children who had to flee from Rakhine State.
He said Malaysia was willing to shoulder the financial and social responsibility of providing shelter and basic necessities to these Rohingyas.
“It is the morally right thing to do. However, the fact that they have been forced to flee is a tragic indictment of the situation they faced at home,” he said and alluded Malaysia’s fear for Rohingyas’ vulnerability to become human trafficking victims, as well as infiltration of militant elements among them.
The premier also called on the OIC member states to recognise that it was their collective responsibility to assist “our brothers and sisters in Rakhine State” in the name and spirit of Islamic solidarity.
He pointed out that it was incumbent upon OIC members to do all they could to save Rohingyas from the humanitarian tragedy they suffered, hence to help provide them with a future that is safe, sustainable, and characterised by the dignity that should be the birth right of every human being.
Touching on how to resolve the plight, the prime minister called on the Myanmar government to end the killings, violation of women and girls, the persecution and the denial of basic rights.
“I say to our friends in Myanmar: Prove yourselves worthy of your great traditions and history again. Be equal to the words your father of independence, General Aung San, delivered in 1946.
“Nowadays, all the world over, we cannot confine the definition of a nationality to the narrow bounds of race, religion and others. Nations are extending their rights of their respective communities even to others who may not belong to them, except by their mere residence amongst them, and their determination to live and be with them,” he said.
Najib said the root causes of this problem must be addressed urgently in their entirety, with a view to finding mutually favourable, long-term and comprehensive solutions for all the parties involved.
“We call on the Government of Myanmar to cease all discriminatory actions and attacks against the Rohingyas immediately, and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice,” he said.
He also stressed that ASEAN had every right to raise the issue and was glad that this was recognised at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Yangon last month.
“The current situation is a strain on ASEAN itself, and on the community, we declared established at the end of 2015, under Malaysia’s chairmanship.
“We in ASEAN must live up to what the Community stands for – otherwise it would be a Community in name only, a disgrace to the visionaries who came together to found ASEAN 50 years ago.
“We will have failed them if we do not do our utmost to avert the catastrophe that has been unfolding for the Rohingyas,” he said.
Touching on Malaysia-Myanmar relations, Najib said Kuala Lumpur had been supporting Yangon, and had fought for the country’s inclusion in ASEAN and had resisted efforts to punish and isolate Myanmar.
The prime minister said Malaysia recognised Myanmar as an important and significant partner that could not be left out in the region and “Myanmar has no firmer friend than Malaysia”.
“We recognise the unique characteristics that it possesses – its people, its natural resources, and of course its strategic location. Among the member states of ASEAN, it is alone in sharing land borders with both China and India.
“Just as significantly, we recognise and continue to recognise the resilience and commitment of the Myanmar people which enabled them to shake off the chains of dictatorship in a peaceful, moderate and mature manner,” he said.
According to reports, the ongoing crisis in Rakhine State has caused thousands of Rohingyas to flee Myanmar with reports of atrocities, including rape and murder, which have been denied by the Myanmar government.
The Kuala Lumpur meeting is expected to issue two documents – resolutions and a joint communique to show their united stand on the matter.