Most Malaysians unwilling to accept resettlement of displaced Rohingyas, survey shows

Kenneth Tee
Rohingya children are seen at a refugee camp in Cox's Bazar March 7, 2019. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — A majority of Malaysians disapproved of the resettlement of the displaced Rohingya people in Malaysia despite having the biggest dissatisfaction on the way Asean is dealing with the Rakhine issue, a Singapore think-tank revealed today.

In the State of Southeast Asia 2020 survey by the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, 56.4 per cent of respondents disapproved of the resettlement with the remaining 43.6 per cent approving the move.

A total of 1,308 respondents from all ten Asean member states participated in the 2020 survey, with 222 respondents from Malaysia.

On the assessment of Asean’s response to the crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, Malaysia tops the disapproving list with 71.2 per cent followed by Singapore at 68.5 per cent and the Philippines at 64.3 per cent.

Of the 71.2 per cent of Malaysian respondents, 27 per cent strongly disapproved of how Asean dealt with the Rakhine crisis.

“On the other side of the spectrum, the strongest support for Asean’s response is found amongst Lao (73.9 per cent), Vietnamese (65.8 per cent), and Myanmar (58.2 per cent) respondents,” the survey added.

Of the 222 respondents, 69.8 per cent of them said Asean should either mediate between the Myanmar government and the Rakhine and Rohingya communities or step up diplomatic pressure on Myanmar.

Last September, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad slammed the United Nations and Myanmar government for their inaction in resolving the Rohingya crisis which has displaced more than a million people in the country.

Myanmar’s military has been accused of murdering thousands of Rohingya in western Rakhine state since 2017, which has resulted in the mass exodus of these Muslim minorities to neighbouring countries, and led to the world’s largest refugee camp at Cox Bazar in Bangladesh.

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