Inhumane to turn away Rohingya refugees, says Dr M

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today joined the chorus condemning the rejection of Rohingya refugees, saying the authorities’ recent decision to turn away a boat carrying some 400 of them was “inhumane”.

In a blog post, Mahathir said the authorities should instead have given them food and fuel so that they could make their way to another country or return to Myanmar.

Earlier this month, the authorities blocked a boat carrying starving Rohingya refugees from landing. It was reported that around 30 of the refugees had died at sea.

A wave of xenophobic online attacks against the refugees followed, fuelled in part by fake news that the head of a Rohingya NGO here had demanded equal rights and citizenship for the refugees.

Mahathir said the Malays had initially sympathised with the Rohingya, who had chosen to come to Malaysia because of this sympathy.

But once too many refugees came and the actions of some angered the Malays, he said, their sympathy turned into hatred.

Mahathir said Malaysia has given the refugees much help, adding that they should go to other countries which should open their doors to them as well.

But, he said, help should have been given to the boat carrying the 400 refugees.

“We should condemn Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi for their tyranny and reject trading with them,” he added.

He said Malaysia should urge the United Nations to take action against Myanmar and expose what he called the country’s cruelty to the world.

“Do not hate the Rohingya who are the victims of tyranny,” he said.

“Islamic nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation should act to stop Myanmar’s tyranny.”

Fake or not? Check our quick fake news buster here.