Civil societies want Malaysia Parliament to debate Rohingya crisis

Civil societies want Malaysia Parliament to debate Rohingya crisis
A Rohingya migrant who arrived today by boat looks out the window of a police truck before departing with others to a temporary shelter, in Idi Rayeuk, Aceh.

KUALA LUMPUR - Identifying the root cause for the displacement and plight of the Rohingya should be the first step to resolving the crisis, say civil societies.

In addition to that, Global Movement of Moderates chief executive officer Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah called for the Malaysian parliament to debate the issue.

"We do not want to suggest what they should debate but we will approach speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia next week to talk about this and to allow a debate on the issue of the boat people.

"If Parliament approves a stand on the issue, it will give out an important signal in addition to stating its support to civil societies while sending a message to all other ASEAN governments and international organisations," he said.

Saifuddin said several members had proposed that Parliament debate the issue which were turned down.

He said there was a need to "revisit" the concept of non-interference among regional governments.

"The issue of the boat people has been kept quiet for too long and in fact, if these people did not turn up on our shores recently, it would not be acknowledged at all.

"Every government likes the idea that no one can interfere, but that is an old idea. Things and issues are now crossing borders," he said during a discussion organised by Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham).

Other issues raised include the setting up of an immediate search and rescue mission to help those stranded at sea regardless of their legal status.

Members of the Migration Working Group, United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the ASEAN Civil Society were present.

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