This file picture taken on June 15, 2012 shows a Myanmar Muslim Rohingya standing between tents at a temporary relief camp for people displaced by days of sectarian violence on the outskirts of Sittwe, capital of Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine. – AFP
THE international community should realise that the suffering of the Rohingya community in Myanmar can cause the rise of extremist groups there, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.
He said the global community needed to provide adequate assistance to the Muslim Rohingyas and the Buddhist community in Myanmar and help to prevent the spread of sectarian violence.
“If extremist groups are created based from the problems that exists in Myanmar, Asean countries will be among the first to be affected.
“It is therefore important to ensure stability is maintained in Rakhine and the affected people are given necessary aid. This will also prevent the problem of refugees coming out from Myanmar,” he told Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak).
Anifah said that when Myanmar gained independence in 1958, the Rohingya were considered citizens as stipulated under the country’s Citizenship Act 1948.
However, in 1982, when the military government enforced its so-called nationality law, the Rohingya were denied their rights as citizens, he added.
“This view is based on the perception of the administration and the people there that the Rohingya are immigrants who were brought in by the British to work as labourers,” he said.
Anifah said Rohingya had fled oppression in their country to India, Saudi Arabia,Thailand and Malaysia.
“Most of them who came here stay in Selangor, Penang, Johor and Kuala Lumpur,” he added.
Anifah said Malaysia had expressed concern over the well-being of the people of Rakhine who had been displaced due to ethnic clashes.
“Malaysia also believes aid should not only be given to the Muslim Rohingyas, but also to the Buddhist community as well, as this can help reduce tension and the socio-economic gap that exists between them,” he added.