‘DAP-linked people’ behind anti-Rohingya messages, says deputy minister

Deputy Federal Territories Minister Edmund Santhara.

PETALING JAYA: Deputy Federal Territories Minister Edmund Santhara has blamed “DAP-linked netizens” for the recent rise in hate speech and xenophobic messages targeting the Rohingya community amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Speaking to Malaysiakini and KiniTV, Santhara said his analysis of “all the social media (messages)” found that the hate speech and xenophobic messages were “sponsored by politically motivated groups”.

“Why did I say (these groups) are politically motivated? You can see that the people who are talking about it were originating from the DAP side,” the Segamat MP was quoted as saying.

“I wouldn’t say (the hate speech and xenophobia targeting the Rohingya community were coming from) DAP as a party but the people associated in their circle.”

He was responding to the flood of remarks on social media against Rohingya refugees in the wake of false allegations that a community activist had demanded citizenship, with religious leaders and rights activists both appealing for calm.

This also followed the authorities’ controversial move to push back boats carrying hundreds of Rohingya people fleeing Myanmar last month.

Santhara is one of nine PKR MPs who left the party in February following the sacking of former PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali and vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin.

Santhara chairs the Federal Territories Crisis Management Centre, which is tasked with looking into the Rohingya community living in Selayang under enhanced movement control order.

An estimated 15,000 Rohingya live in the Selayang wholesale market area alone.

The United Nations’ refugee agency, UNHCR, has said half of the 175,000 refugees in Malaysia are Rohingya.

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