PETALING JAYA: Terengganu Amanah chief Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah has questioned why Malaysia did not vote on whether the UN Human Rights Council should debate the alleged abuses of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang.
He said Malaysia’s decision to abstain from voting was “disappointing” and “embarrassing”.
In a statement, Raja Kamarul also cautioned that Malaysia may become “irrelevant”, especially among Islamic countries, by choosing not to take a stand on the issue.
“It appears that our country’s stance on protecting Muslim minorities in Xinjiang and Palestine is becoming weak despite claiming to be a Malay-Islamic government,” he said.
“Does the government approve of not investigating these crimes against humanity against Muslim minorities?”
Raja Kamarul pointed out that Malaysia had once decided not to extradite Uyghur refugees to China because of concerns over their safety.
He asked whether “commercial factors have now taken precedence over protecting Muslim minorities oppressed by powerful forces”.
Similarly, Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub also labelled the decision to abstain from voting as extremely embarrassing.
“I will bring it up during our parliamentary session next week,” he said in a tweet.
Salahuddin said he had sent the question for the Ministers’ Question Time (MQT) session, which falls on every Tuesday and Thursday in the Dewan Rakyat.
The UN Human Rights Council yesterday voted 19-17 against holding the debate, with 11 countries abstaining.
Apart from Malaysia, the countries which abstained were Argentina, Armenia, Benin, Brazil, Gambia, India, Libya, Malawi, Mexico and Ukraine.
The vote came after former UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet cited potential “crimes against humanity” against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in a report she released about Xinjiang last month.