PETALING JAYA: About 100 people, including monks, participated in a protest rally against Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at the Mahabandoola Park in downtown Yangon yesterday, the Myanmar Times reported.
They had demanded that Myanmar’s foreign affairs ministry and the Asean grouping rebuke Najib for “not upholding Asean values”.
The protest was led by the Myanmar National Monk Union (Yangon), with its secretary U Thu Satetta saying that the group “cannot accept that they insult our nationality”.
“We will do everything we can, either protesting or sending out signed requests, because we do not want to give even an inch of our country.
“We cannot accept the fact that they insult our nationality, so even if we need to take up arms, we might do so,” he was quoted as saying by the Myanmar daily.
Some of the protesters were seen holding photos of Najib and banners condemning the Malaysian prime minister, with the message “Don’t Pressure Myanmar Government”.
Their actions followed a protest in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, where Najib and other Muslim leaders from Umno and PAS led about 10,000 Muslims in a protest rally against the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, in Myanmar.
Najib had said that he didn’t care if Malaysia’s firm stand on the issue threatened relations with Myanmar.
“Myanmar says I am interfering in their personal business. I do not care.
“We want to show Myanmar and tell Aung San Suu Kyi (Myanmar’s de facto leader) that enough is enough,” he had said.
At the Yangon protest yesterday, Ko Naung Naung Oo, who is the general secretary of the Myanmar Nationalist Network, called for Najib not to “stand for terrorists”.
“The Malaysian prime minister is pressuring the Myanmar government. I would like to tell the Malaysian prime minister, don’t stand for terrorists. You must know the correct history of Myanmar. I would like to announce to the world that there are 135 Myanmar ethnic groups and there is no Rohingya,” he was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, a letter sent to Myanmar Times by U Wirathu, a prominent monk who is a member of Buddhist nationalist organisation, Ma Ba Tha, also lashed out at “Muslim countries” for bullying Myanmar.
“The unfair fact is Muslim countries are using a lot of money and unfair techniques and bullying Myanmar to make the world become a Muslim world,” Wirathu wrote from his base in Mandalay, according to the Myanmar Times.
In a separate development, the Myanmar government said it would issue an official response objecting to Najib’s participation in the KL protest yesterday.
“Asean countries should respect the actions of Myanmar on the Rakhine state issue.
“The new government is working on a solution to this issue. And I want to say again that the Malaysian government should respect the Asean charter,” the deputy director general of the President’s Office, U Zaw Htay, told Myanmar Times.
He also accused Najib of trying to stoke religious extremism as well as playing to the gallery for popular votes in view of the general election that is expected to be held soon in Malaysia.