Malaysia has summoned Myanmar’s ambassador to express its grave concern over the “continuous violence” against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
The latest violence began on Aug. 25, when Rohingya insurgents attacked dozens of police posts and an army base. The ensuing clashes and a military counter-offensive have killed at least 400 people and triggered the exodus of the Rohingya to Bangladesh and other surrounding countries
Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said the latest incidents of violence showed that the Myanmar government had made “little if any” progress in finding a peaceful solution to problems facing the Rohingya minority.
“Given these developments, Malaysia believes that the matter of sustained violence and discrimination against the Rohingyas should be elevated to a higher international forum,” Aman said in a statement.
About 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims live in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, but they are denied citizenship and are seen as "illegal immigrants" by many officials in Myanmar, which is 90 percent Buddhist.
Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has come under pressure from countries with large Muslim populations, such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia, for not speaking out for the minority that has long complained of persecution.
“As a Nobel laureate who stood up for the principles of human rights, the international community had placed high expectation on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to achieve peace and reconciliation in Myanmar,” Aman said. “It is Malaysia's hope that she will be able to fulfil these expectations soon.”
According to the United Nations, nearly 125,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh in just 10 days, joining more than 400,000 others already living there in cramped makeshift camps.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has said the country is ready to ease the burden of Bangladesh in dealing with crisis, but the help is likely to be only humanitarian, not financial.
"We will continue to discuss what sort of support Indonesia could make to ease the burden of the Bangladesh government," Marsudi told a news conference after she met Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her counterpart Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali in Dhaka.
"This humanitarian crisis shall be ended. I want to repeat, this humanitarian crisis shall be ended," she told reporters in Dhaka, a day after meetings in the Myanmar capital.
H.T. Imam, a political adviser to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, told Reuters with Indonesia taking the lead, there’s a possibility that more ASEAN countries will join in. Myanmar, Indonesia and Malaysia are all members of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations.
"If we can keep the pressure on Myanmar from ASEAN, from India as well, that will be good ... If the international conscience is awakened, that would put pressure on Myanmar," he said.