Kuala Lumpur [Malaysia]: Thousands of Malaysians and Rohingya refugees gathered at Titiwangsa Stadium to protest against the alleged state-endorsed persecution of the Muslim minority group in Myanmar on Sunday.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak joined opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) president Abdul Hadi Awang at the rally, along with top leaders from both Malay Muslim-based parties, despite a warning from Myanmar that his presence would be seen as interference in its domestic affairs.
“They warned me, but I don’t care, because I am here in my capacity as representative of the community and the people of Malaysia,” The Straits Times quoted Najib as saying.
The Prime Minister while referring to the regional bloc’s convention not to intervene in other members’ internal issues, said, “ASEAN also protects basic human rights. Don’t read the charter selectively.”
Addressing the largely Muslim crowd, Najib said he will not keep his eyes closed and keep his mouth shut and added that they must defend Rohingyas, not just because they are of the same faith, but they are humans and their lives have value.
Najib also questioned Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s credentials as a Nobel Peace laureate after she refused to meet him to discuss the alleged ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims.
Asserting that Rohingya issue is an insult to Islam, he said that their patience was being challenged.
The Prime Minister said he would ask Indonesian President Joko Widodo to also lead the world’s largest Muslim country in protest against the treatment of the Rohingya.
Over 56,000 Rohingya and Myanmar refugees in Malaysia are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.