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Rohingya march to go on, Wisma Putra tells Myanmar

Published:  |  Modified:

The government is allowing the Solidarity March over the ongoing Rohingya crisis on humanitarian grounds, as it also affects Malaysia's security.

Wisma Putra was responding to deputy director general of the Myanmar President’s Office, U Zaw Htay, who was reported yesterday warning Malaysia not to interfere in its affairs.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs views with concern the humanitarian crisis in Rohingya, the spillover effect of which will affect the safety, security and standing of Malaysia, as Myanmar's Asean neighbour.

"It is in this context that Malaysia has allowed the Solidarity March to take place," it said in a statement this morning.

"As a neighbour and a responsible member of the international community, it is Malaysia's obligation to ensure that its Asean colleague takes proactive steps to prevent the matter from further deteriorating.

"Malaysia is well aware of the principles upon which Asean was built, being a founding member of the regional organisation," added Wisma Putra.

Furthermore, all Asean member states agreed to respond effectively, in accordance with the principle of comprehensive security, to threats, it said according to Bernama, adding that the Rohingya issue posed a threat to Malaysia's own security.

'Ethnic-cleansing'

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the humanitarian crisis was no longer an internal matter but an international one, and it must be resolved to restore stability and security in the Southeast Asian region.

It said Malaysia regarded the persecution as "an immediate humanitarian concern" and not a religious issue.

"The fact that only one particular ethnicity is being driven out is by definition ethnic-cleansing," it said.

The ministry said the huge number of Rohingyas in Malaysia, estimated at 56,000, under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees banner, coupled with the hundreds of thousands in other neighbouring countries, made the Rohingya problem no longer an internal matter but an international one.

"Malaysia need not remind the spokesman of the Myanmar President's office, U Zaw Htay, of the 2015 'boat people' crisis which eventually became a regional issue, with Myanmar's neighbours taking the brunt of the burden.

"It is with this in mind that Malaysia has repeatedly offered its assistance to the Myanmar government in finding a solution for a just and durable immediate solution to the persecution of the Rohingyas in northern Rakhine," it said.

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