GEORGE TOWN, Malaysia - A pro-Rohingya support group is pleading with Malaysia to provide protection to the Rohingyas stranded in vessels out at sea.
Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation of Malaysia president Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani claimed they were abandoned by their agents.
"They are not illegal immigrants, they are refugees. Those people will be killed if they go back to Myanmar.
"We do not know how many of them are still out there.
"Please help them from their sufferings. We will just be here temporarily, just for shelter," Zafar Ahmad said on Thursday.
He said that he and his fellow Rohingyas loved their country and wished to head back home, but they could not do so with the ongoing ethnic troubles there.
Zafar Ahmad said he was arrested in several countries 13 times before he arrived in Malaysia in 1992 as a refugee.
He now stays in Kuala Lumpur, leading the movement that he said "fights for the humanitarian rights of oppressed Rohingyas".
"All we ask for is a chance for us to return to Myanmar and to be recognised as an ethnic group."