Mahathir Mohamad was surprised that Malay Muslims’ sympathy toward Rohingya Muslims suddenly becomes hatred. So the former prime minister came out and urged the Malays not to hate the Rohingya people, arguing that they are victims of cruelty. He said condemnations should be directed at Myanmar and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi instead.
Najib Razak was less forgiving. The serial liar, who used to love Rohingya so much that he shared a stage in 2016 with “enemy” Hadi Awang to protest against the violence against their Muslim brothers in Myanmar, has made a U-turn. Now, Mr. Najib supports the Armed Forces’ attempt on April 17 in stopping a new batch of Rohingya refugees from entering the country.
Hadi Awang, the “munafiq (hypocrite)” who had basically screamed his lungs out chanting “free the Rohingya”, now says the humanitarian crisis that has plagued the Rohingya people needs to be dealt with using international effort rather than depends on Malaysia alone. What happens to Hadi’s chest-thumping declaration that Muslim brotherhood was above citizenship?
Due to Coronavirus fears, apparently Malaysian authorities spotted and turned away a boat carrying about 200 Rohingya off the north-western island of Langkawi. Earlier this month, 202 Rohingya landed in Langkawi and were detained. As a Muslim-majority nation with sizable Rohingya presence, Malaysia is easily a favourite destination for refugees or migrants from Myanmar.
Does that mean when the Covid-19 pandemic is finally over, the government would start welcoming boatloads of Rohingya refugees once again? Why can’t the latest “Malay-only” Perikatan Nasional government quarantine them somewhere in Langkawi for 14 days to ensure they’re free from the virus before letting them join their fellow Rohingya families or friends?
Yes, while there are approximately 179,520 refugees and asylum-seekers in Malaysia, according to UNHCR as of end March 2020, a huge portion of them – 154,460 or 86% – are from Myanmar. In reality, however, there are also illegal immigrants, but only the God knows how many had entered the country undetected, thanks to the booming business of human trafficking.
To make matters worse, in March, Malaysian authorities were reportedly scrambling to track down about 2,000 Rohingya men who attended a Muslim religious gathering – Tabligh – that has led to a big spike in the spread of Coronavirus cases across Southeast Asia. But all hell broke loose when a video clip emerged in social media – demanding something unexpected.
The video, featuring Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani, President of Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation Malaysia (Merhrom), was seen as demanding similar rights to Malaysians and citizenship for the Rohingya community. After public uproars, Zafar claimed there was misunderstanding and he had never actually demanded citizenship for the Rohingya people.
But as far as former PM Najib was concerned, there was no misunderstanding at all. He openly blamed the Rohingya whom he had initially milked for political gains in 2016 – “We do not like it when they don’t observe cleanliness and disrespect the law. Some go to the extreme of demanding equality. Sudah diberikan betis, nak peha pulak (translated to ‘give them an inch and they’ll take a mile’)”.
Like it or not, scumbag politicians like Najib (former PM) and Hadi (president of Islamist party PAS) were instrumental in encouraging the arrivals of Rohingya people at an industrial rate after both leaders used the Rohingya card to rally Malay Muslim voters. The protest drama against the so-called “ethnic cleansing” in Myanmar was staged to divert attention from Najib’s 1MDB scandal.
Even if it’s true that the Rohingya Muslims were demanding citizenship now, whose fault it is if not Najib and Hadi, who played racial and religious cards? Did not Hadi Awang say that Muslim brotherhood was more vital than citizenship? Why only now that Najib whined, moaned and bitched about Rohingya cleanliness, as if they were super clean 4 years ago?
Get real, if the current government is still the previous Pakatan Harapan, and not the backdoor “Malay-only” Perikatan Nasional government of which Najib’s UMNO and Hadi’s PAS parties are part of, the racists and extremists from both UMNO and PAS will definitely hold another massive protest to accuse DAP-Chinese of oppressing and suppressing fellow Rohingya Muslims for turning away the boat loaded with them.
Make no mistake about the issues of refugees, asylum-seekers or illegal immigrants in the country. In a very near future, they would gang-up and threaten to be accorded citizenship. When that time comes, the so-called Malays or Bumiputeras (son of the soil) will be powerless against them. But the source of the problem is UMNO-Malay leaders, especially Mahathir and Najib.
Malaysia began admitting Rohingya Muslims and Acehnese Muslims in the 1980s. Then in the early 1990s, the notorious “Project IC”, a project which grants citizenship to immigrants by giving them identity cards, was started. It was secretly hatched during Mahathir’s first stint as premier for 22 years (1981-2003) where immigrants – whether legal or otherwise – were systematically granted citizenship in Sabah.
The purpose of Project-IC was to alter the demographic pattern in the state of Sabah to make it more favourable to then-Mahathir government. A former senator claimed that at least 700,000 immigrants had been given citizenships. In April 2015, Mr. Mahathir admitted that it was his government’s policy to recognize people who were loyal to the country (or rather his government).
From the beginning, it was about racial and religious politics. Unlike 250,000 Vietnamese boat people who fled the Vietnam War and settled in Bidong Island, Terengganu (1975-1991) temporarily (the last Vietnamese refugee left Malaysia in 2005), the Rohingya people are allowed to live freely in all the states in Malaysia. The state of Selangor alone is hosting a whopping 66,000 Rohingyas.
In comparison, then racist Deputy Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad declared in 1979 that the order to “shoot on sight” would be given, only to be warned by the U.S., as the government began the brutality of pushing 70,000 Vietnamese refugees back to the sea. Yet, 2 days ago, he shed tears for the Rohingya Muslims when the Muhyiddin government of his own party stopped a refugee boat from landing.
In 2005, the Malaysian government issued between 32,000 and 35,000 IMM13 work permits to Acehnese migrants and refugees from Indonesia, allowing them to work, attend school, and live in the country legally. The next year, the government began to issue IMM13 permits to Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar, but stopped amid accusations of bribery and corruption in the issuing process.
The corrupt Barisan Nasional regime had gotten smarter, it appeared. Instead of giving free identity cards as in the case of Sabah to win the state election, the government of Abdullah Badawi found it more profitable to milk the issuance of IMM13 permits to Muslim refugees while allowing them to slowly integrate and increase the population of “Muslims” in Peninsular Malaysia.
When the 202 Rohingya illegal immigrants were arrested in Langkawi early this month, it was discovered that the entire operation actually involved human smuggling where the syndicate would be paid RM15,000 per head. That boatload of Rohingyas alone would make the syndicate a cool RM3 million in profit. Clearly, this is not a case of refugees, but human trafficking.
There were also reports that Rohingya men in Malaysia willingly pay RM20,000 dowry to marry a Rohingya girl smuggled into the country. In 2015, the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) said in a report it had identified at least 120 Rohingya child brides, as young as 12-year-old, in Malaysia – suggesting the lucrative business of child marriage.
The Rohingya illegal immigrants did not enter the country through sea alone, but also along the loosely guarded Malaysia-Thai border, for obvious reason. In essence, it means not only the actual number of Rohingya people in the country is above the official 154,460 figures published by the UNHCR, but also speaks volumes about corruption within Malaysian authorities for decades.
And who can forget how Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, former deputy prime minister, was running the business of importing an eye-popping 1.5-million Bangladeshi, each charged between RM1,500 and RM3,000 per head, depending on the sector – manufacturing, construction, service or plantation and agriculture – the cheap labours would be sent to?
As of 30 June 2017, the official figures showed there were 1,781,598 foreign workers in the country. In 2018, however, it was estimated that a total of between 3.85 to 5.3 million migrant workers were already residing in Malaysia, including undocumented or illegal workers. If today the Rohingyas dare to demand citizenship, what is there to stop Bangladeshi or Pakistani from doing the same tomorrow?
True, it was due to humanitarian that refugees were first allowed into the country. But later, Mahathir and his successors had chosen to trust foreign Muslims more than fellow citizen – non-Muslims – to keep them in power. The corrupt, racist and selfish politicians had even seen it as necessary to put majority Malay-Muslims and minority ethnics Chinese and Indians at loggerheads.
Now, you reap what you sow. In 2002, there were only 5,000 Rohingya and nearly 59,000 Filipino Muslims (primarily in Sabah). Today, 20 years later, there are more than 150,000 Rohingyas, and they have started asking for citizenship and equal rights. Can you imagine what will happen in another 20 years? The Rohingya’s demand for citizenship is just the beginning.
The Rohingya, Bangladeshi and Pakistani have been systematically marrying local Malay women to enjoy special privileges and discounts given to a Bumiputera. They are very hard working. They don’t pay taxes like minority non-Muslims. They snatch local jobs deemed dangerous, dirty and difficult. Soon, they would rule the country, like Java-immigrant Zahid Hamidi who came from Ponorogo.
Source : Finance Twitter