A tweet by PPBM leader Rais Yatim has raised the hackles of social media users after he equated the impact of the large number of Rohingya refugees in Malaysia with those brought in during the British era in the early 1900s.
The Negeri Sembilan party chief said when the Rohingya were small in number, they were docile.
“When their number swelled to hundreds of thousands, they gobbled us up (dibahamnya kita),” he wrote in his tweet.
“Other races who came in during the British era in the 1920s were the same in the end,” added the former culture, arts and heritage minister.
Rais said everyone should learn from history as “there are a lot who support people from outside”.
The Chinese and Indians were brought in by the British to work in tin mines, rubber estates and the police force.
FMT is awaiting a response from Rais for a further explanation on his tweet.
For the past two weeks, there has been an increase in xenophobic comments against the Rohingya, after fake news claiming they were asking for equal rights and citizenship.
Many religious leaders and human rights activists have raised concerns over comments made based on such fake news.
Senior Minister (Security) Ismail Sabri Yaakob had also commented on the many reports and videos on social media on the Rohingya, aimed seemingly at provoking public anger at them
Ismail said the Rohingya had lived for a long time here, with the Malaysian government hosting them on humanitarian grounds.
There are about 200,000 Rohingya in Malaysia. Many are forced to work illegally or beg for a living.
Rais’ tweet has received negative reactions from citizens.
One user, khairullllll, said it was frustrating to see such comments as criminals can be of any race or colour.
Fauzan Ahmad wrote: “It looks like the same Umno concept.”
Davetoh, another tweeter, asked the police to probe the tweet. “Can @PDRMsia please look into this post. This is blatantly inciting racial disharmony and hatred.”
Abraham George said in his tweet: “Thank you for openly showing your true colours again. You are a beacon of hope for Malaysia.”
Rais also had his supporters. Tahafut Al-Tahafut stated there could be some truth to what Rais was saying.
“Read the history with an open mind, truthfully and honestly. It makes it worst when the elite Malays conspire with migrants to bring them in illegally. When there are too many, they don’t follow rules.”