With no help from embassy, thousands of Rohingya to go hungry in Selayang

Members of the Rohingya community seen at the Selayang wholesale market area which was placed under total lockdown on Monday.

PETALING JAYA: An estimated 15,000 Rohingya refugees living in the latest part of Kuala Lumpur to come under total lockdown in the fight against Covid-19 may face hungry days ahead as food aid from the government will only be made available to Malaysians.

A source involved in distributing food to those residing around the Selayang wholesale market said the welfare department is expected to hand out rations to about 2,600 Malaysians there.

Normally, embassies take responsibility for feeding their citizens. However, this is out of the question for the Rohingya who are not recognised as nationals by the Myanmar government.

“Who is going to feed them as they are considered stateless?” the source said, adding that none of the Rohingya’s employers have come forward to offer aid, either.

“No rich Selayang market bosses who have made money from selling vegetables and meat all these years have come forward.

“Neither have the NGOs who have been fighting for the rights of the Rohingya.”

The area surrounding the wholesale market was placed under enhanced movement control order (EMCO) earlier this week, the third location in the city centre to come under lockdown after Menara City One at Jalan Dang Wangi, and the Selangor Mansion and Malayan Mansion off Jalan Masjid India.

The EMCO is expected to continue until May 3.

The source said foreign workers in the other areas had received donations from companies and individuals as well as aid from their embassies.

The workers, mostly from Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Pakistan, have been given items like rice, tinned sardines, condensed milk, cooking oil, bread, eggs, tea, sugar, salt and soap.

“But here, it is different as thousands are stateless.”

According to the source, dry goods will be distributed in a day or two as authorities begin conducting health checks among the Selayang residents.

Some sundry shops have also been allowed to remain open to enable residents to obtain essential items.

As of end-February, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Malaysia estimated about 179,000 registered refugees and asylum-seekers in the country, some 101,000 of whom are Rohingya.

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