KUALA LUMPUR – A special envoy of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has proposed for Malaysia to establish a special registration system to identify and record all Rohingya refugees arrival in the country.
OIC Special Envoy to Myanmar Syed Hamid Albar said Monday that the registration system can then be relied on to provide employment and education opportunities for the Muslim minority from Myanmar.
He told reporters in Kuala Lumpur that Malaysia should no longer rely on the identification cards provided by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as it “does not grant additional facilities for the Rohingya refugees”.
“There are some 50,000 ethnic Rohingyas who are registered with the UNHCR in this country, but there are still many others who are not registered. In the UNHCR card, their status is that of refugee,” he said.
“What we want is for them to be registered under a system so that they can live under international law until the problems in their country are resolved,” Malaysian-born Albar added.
He also said that while Malaysia accepts Rohingya escaping Myanmar’s conflict-riddled western Rakhine State, there is currently no structured framework in place to prevent the people from being exploited.
“We need to structure ourselves properly. We cannot be like now… so that they can get healthcare, go to school and get rights,” he underlined.
“At present in Malaysia, they are all over the place. We don’t want them to be exploited by any groups.”
Albar’s comments comes amid UN reports that an estimated 27,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine and are sheltering in neighboring Bangladesh after Myanmar’s military launched after fatal Oct. 9 attacks on police outposts.
Myanmar has said that at least 93 people — 17 police and soldiers and 76 alleged “attackers” (including six who reportedly died during interrogation) — were killed and some 575 suspects have been detained for alleged involvement in the Oct. 9 attacks and during the subsequent military crackdown.
Rohingya advocacy groups, however, claim around 400 Rohingya — described by the UN as among the most persecuted groups worldwide — were killed in the military operations, women were raped and Rohingya villages torched.
Humanitarian outfits have called for an independent probe into the initial attacks, the ongoing operations and reported rapes and rights abuses in Rakhine, as with the area placed under military lockdown, rights groups and international reporters have been unable to enter.
Since last month, Malaysia has heavily criticized Myanmar’s government and military over the violence, with Prime Minister Najib Razak and his cabinet referring to it as “genocide” or “ethnic cleansing”.
Myanmar has highlighted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’s non-interference principle in its response to countries accusing it of human rights atrocities in its treatment of Rohingya, stressing fellow member Indonesia’s “positive and constructive” approach while criticizing Malaysia.
Malaysia has insisted that the Rohingya crisis is no longer a domestic matter, warning that if it is not urgently addressed it will impact the security and stability of the region.
According to the last census in Malaysia, there were some 135,000Rohingya in the country in 2014.
Source: Anadulo Agenycy