Rohingya Vision

Rohingyas mark Ramadan alongside fellow Muslims in Malaysia

Image by:AFP

Rohingyas mark Ramadan alongside fellow Muslims in Malaysia
June 26
11:13 2015

KUALA LUMPUR:  The township of Ampang Tasik Permai, on the edge of downtown Kuala Lumpur, is one of the largest enclaves of Rohingyas in Malaysia.

Many have lived here for more than 20 years, having first arrived in Malaysia in the 1980s from Arakan (Rakhine) state in Myanmar. There are more than 150,000 refugees and asylum seekers in the country, and 90 per cent of them are from Myanmar.

While some have kept to their traditional way of life, others married ethnic Malays and grew accustomed to local culture. Many Rohingyas were also born here.

The holy month of Ramadan is when Rohingyas, like other Muslims around the world, gather to break their fast at sunset.

They like to do so with a traditional dish of noodles, which reminds them of home.

“We only get to eat this back home, it’s prepared by our people and I come all the way for this,” said one man.

Local Malays have long accepted the presence of Rohingyas in their community even though they are refugees and work illegally in this country.

“They are here to make a living, they don’t give us any trouble,” said a local woman.

“These are Rohingya children, they mix with Malays and Indonesian kids. There is no problem, they don’t fight,” agreed another man.

For years, the Rohingyas have been living side by side ethnic Malay Muslims in Malaysia. They pray together and learn to speak the local Malay language.

For many, this is home and they hope to be given the right to work. For others, they long to return one day when the situation improves and the persecution stops for the Rohingyas.

“It’s our ancestral land and it was peaceful. God willing, peace will return, that will be good,” said a Rohingya man living in the community.

While the Rohingyas said they were thankful that they are able to observe fasting month in peace, they pray they will be granted the right to work legally in this country. Refugees, even those registered with UNHCR, are not allowed to be employed in Malaysia

“If only Malaysia can allow them to work that’s all they are asking so that we can work, we can feed their families and we can send their children to school,” said Aegile Fernandex, the Director of Tenaganita Women’s Force

Despite the restrictions, many continue to eke out a living doing menial jobs shunned by locals, just so they can have a better future for themselves and their children.

Note:Changes have been made,CNA is not responsible for these.




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