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We should choose our friends in the Rohingya versus Burma battles wisely

It pays to take a close look at the Rohingya and their leadership. 

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The next post comes from an apparently normal, run-of-the-mill young Indonesian woman, Fatimah Az Zahra.

She refers to the Rohingya as Mujahideen (the plural for one who is engaged in Jihad).

She says,

"Mujahideen Rohingya (as heading)

If you're Muslim comment (ie on her Facebook page) aamiin (means something like Allah please fulfil our prayer) 

Allah protect our Rohingya Muslim brothers - and protect all Muslims in spirit and Muslims all over the world aamiin

If you're Muslim, share"

 

Finally to the Malaysian state of Sarawak which has made its views about the Rohingya people very clear as this report from the Borneo Post shows.

I wish Julie Bishop and others who seek the international limelight would take a leaf out of this book.

Dayak NGOs laud CM’s stand on ‘no to Rohingyas’

MIRI: Five Dayak non-government organisations (NGO) here have issued a joint statement to support Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s stand on issues regarding  Rohingyas.

The joint statement was made by Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA), Dayak National Congress (DNC), Pemansang Dayak (PD), Persatuan Dayak Sarawak (Pedas) and Pertubukan Kebajikan Anak Dayak Sarawak (fomerly known as Dayak 360).

“We, Dayak NGOs of Sarawak, commend and laud the stand of the chief minister on his stand regarding the Rohingya issues.

“We also commend and laud the stand by Dato Sri Michael Manyin,” said the statement.

On Wednesday, Abang Johari put to rest speculations that the state government would provide temporary sojourn for Rohingya refugees, saying that there was no such thing.

Manyin, meanwhile, was reported as saying there must not be any attempt to bring over Rohingya refugees to Sarawak as such move would not be good for the state.

“We condenm in the strongest term people who make and disseminate fake news which create tensions within the country,” added the statement about fake news claiming that Rohingya refugees would be sent to Sarawak.

The statement also called for those who make and disseminate fake news to be investigated and brought to justice if they are found to have breached laws of the nation.

“We categorically state that our national security is paramount when dealing with international issues. This does not mean we are not concerned with humanitarian issues affecting people outside the country.

“By all means, give whatever assistance to anyone who need help but do not risk our own national welfare and security. We are fully aware of the issues at hand.

“We do not take sides blindly; and instead we approach them objectively,” added the statement.

The NGOs also urged politicians to avoid making statements just to be in the limelight.

“They should spend more time developing their constituencies and looking after the welfare of their people instead of pandering for popularity,” concluded the statement.

ENDS

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Saudi Arabia’s Colliding Interests in Myanmar

Despite Aung San Suu Kyi’s decades-old image as an embattled political prisoner and proponent of ardent reform as an opponent of the previous military government in Myanmar, her new role as state councilor has resulted in criticism from a variety of quarters domestically and internationally, as she juggles her predisposition toward humanitarianism with a pragmatic approach to governing. Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) have been roundly criticized for their presumed complicity in what many international observers have deemed a process of ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Rohingya minority residing in the country’s rural Rakhine State.

While advocacy on behalf of the Rohingya has come from predictable sources in the West, it has also come from Saudi Arabia. The kingdom started providing financial assistance to the Rohingya when the situation began deteriorating in 2012. With its valuable investments in Myanmar’s oil infrastructure, located largely within Rakhine, Riyadh has undoubtedly wished to hedge its bets and play both sides of the same coin. Since then, armed resistance from the Rohingya people toward the Burmese government, including a 2016 attack on security forces linked to funds from Saudi and Pakistani actors, has motivated an increased Burmese military presence in the region.

On numerous occasions, the United Nations as well as human rights organizations have documented abuses leveled against the Rohingya. Earlier this year, Human Rights Watchreleased a report that identified widespread and systematic human rights violations targeting Myanmar’s Muslim citizens in Rakhine State. The report has been disputed by the government. Suu Kyi disagrees with the findings and has denied that the government is guilty of ethnic cleansing.

The roots of the violence in Rakhine State are multifaceted and rooted in British colonial officials’ failure to include the word “Rohingya” in censuses taken of the then-British colony, which was subsequently used as a means of falsely characterizing the Rohingya as illegal immigrants from neighboring regions, with no historical legitimacy in Burma. The former military regime and the current democratically-elected government have both denied the Rohingya full citizenship, strictly limiting basic freedoms of movement and suffrage. Suu Kyi finds herself in a precarious position, reemphasizing her support for non-violent political change, while at the same time referring to the Rohingya’s disrespect for the “Rule of Law” as a justification for a strong military presence in Rakhine.

Prior to 2009, Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah recognized the plight of the Rohingya and offered permanent residency for in excess of 250,000 Burmese Muslims, but Saudi authorities segregated many Burmese upon arrival to the kingdom. Most Burmese expatriates in the Gulf have worked low-skilled/low-pay jobs and have faced challenges similar to those of other poor Southeast Asian migrants in Saudi Arabia. Following the death of King Abdullah, King Salman detained 3,000 Rohingya families in Jeddah prisons and planned to deport them back to Myanmar for reasons that remain unclear.

There's much more to this story here.

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