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The horrors visited upon the Rohingya must be stopped now

All Malaysians are no doubt appalled by the violence and suffering taking place in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, especially the unspeakable, unjustifiable horrors being visited upon the Rohingya people.

Moreover, the violence against the Rohingya and the humanitarian crisis it is exacerbating could have a profoundly destabilising effect not only to Myanmar and its neighbours, but to the Southeast and South Asian regions

All Malaysians should therefore unite to press our government, as well as the international community—including multilateral institutions such as the UN, the OIC and ASEAN—to take all possible diplomatic action to end the violence in the Rakhine.

At the same time, a lasting and just solution to the status of the Rohingya people must also be found—including the immediate and unconditional restoration of their citizenship rights in the Union of Myanmar.

I hope that the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat will allow Malaysia’s MPs to debate this pressing international issue when the House reconvenes.

Indeed, it is not inappropriate for an extraordinary session of Parliament to be called to discuss what foreign policy steps Malaysia can take to end this catastrophe.

I also hope that authorities will—while upholding the rule of the law—consider leniency in dealing with the Rohingya protestors who were arrested near the Myanmar Embassy in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Prominent figures from the Federal government and certain political parties have, after all, in the not-too-distant-past also taken part in similar public gatherings on behalf of the Rohingya cause.

When all is said and done however, the only quarters which can bring peace to the Rakhine and justice to the Rohingya are the Government of Myanmar—including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and the Myanmar armed forces (Tatmadaw) under Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

They surely must realise that they are on the wrong side of history in regards to the Rohingya.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s seeming complicity in the violence makes a mockery of her 1991 Nobel Prize for Peace, when she was cited for “…her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights” and for emphasizing “…the need for conciliation between the sharply divided regions and ethnic groups in her country.”

Moreover, the actions of the Tatmadaw are surely jeopardizing the very territorial integrity of Myanmar that Senior General Min Aung Hlaing professes to defend and cherish.

They have it within their power to end the bloodshed in the Rakhine and the oppression of the Rohingya.

The killing must stop and it must stop now.