Over 50% of Malaysians in survey say ‘no’ to resettling Rohingya here

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has hit out at the lack of will by the United Nations to intervene in the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar (Bernama pic).

PETALING JAYA: A survey by a Singaporean research centre found that 56.4% of Malaysians polled are not in favour of the Rohingya being resettled in the country, despite Putrajaya previously criticising the treatment of the Muslim minority.

The ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute said that more than half the 1,308 respondents from all 10 Asean member states “did not favour the resettling of the displaced Rohingya people in their respective countries”.

“Even in Brunei and Malaysia, which are predominantly Muslim societies, 68% and 56.4% say ‘no’ to the Rohingya’s resettlement in their respective countries,” the report read.

There were 163 respondents from Malaysia.

The report said only in the Philippines and Indonesia were the Rohingya more welcome, with 61.3% and 56.1%, respectively, saying “yes”.

Last year, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad hit out at the lack of will by the United Nations and its inability to intervene in the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.

He also criticised Myanmar leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi for apparently standing by the actions of the Myanmar military against the community.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), more than 900,000 Rohingya had fled Rakhine to Bangladesh after Myanmar’s armed forces launched a crackdown following attacks on security posts in 2017.

UN investigators have said the army campaign, which included mass killings and gang rapes, was carried out with “genocidal intent”.

The military denies almost all the allegations made by refugees during what it said was a legitimate counter-terrorism operation.

Apart from rendering humanitarian assistance, Malaysia operates a field hospital in Cox’s Bazar and hosts close to 100,000 registered Rohingya refugees, alongside many more who are unregistered.