‘Gangsters’ squeezed RM80,000 from Rohingya in Malaysia to fund arms for insurgent group, says report

Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: A Myanmar-based insurgent group has sourced some RM80,000 in funds from Rohingya refugees in Malaysia to buy firearms and ammunition, Bukit Aman told the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

The paper quoted Bukit Aman Special Branch Anti-Terrorist Division principal assistant director Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay as saying that the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa) has raised funds through a “gangster-like” extortion racket in seven states in the peninsular.

“Rohingyas are extorted in the state of Kedah, which is like the centre, (and) Penang, Perak, Selangor, Kelantan, Terengganu and Johor,” Ayub told SCMP, adding that shops frequented by Rohingyas on weekends were also targeted.

The information emerged in the wake of the arrest of four Rohingyas in Malaysia recently, the report said.

Ayub said the funds would be sent to Arsa through Bangladesh using agents such as hawala and Western Union.

The Myanmar government has declared Arsa a terrorist organisation, but the group said it was fighting for the rights of the Rohingya.

But Ayob said only a “tiny number” of Rohingyas in Malaysia were involved with Arsa, and that most of them have rejected the group.

“Many (Rohingyas) give money to Arsa because they have been threatened.

“They still have families in Rakhine state in Myanmar and Arsa has threatened to hurt their families there,” he told SCMP.

Ayub said among the four Rohingya men detained was a refugee issued with UN papers, who he described as a key figure in the extortion racket.

Mohamad Husin Jamal, is also believed to have links with a pro-IS cell involved in a plot to attack a Hindu temple in Malaysia.

He has since been charged in court.