Rohingya: Outcast Community in a Land Devoid of Compassion

Rohingya, a stateless community, at the mercy of the whims and fancies of the United Nations, ASEAN and a very complacent society. Based on news reports and the excited chatter of think tanks, Rohingya refugees make their way from Burma to Malaysia, seeking sanctuary from Malaysians. Possibly due to Malaysia being the closest Muslim country in South East Asia, and that the country is known as the land of opportunities and Muslim-solidarity.

But what would they find in Malaysia? If the Rohingya are fortunate enough to reach the border, via land or sea, passing the hilly terrains covered with rubber plantations and clusters of small fishing villages in Thailand,  they'll find the stern-faces of the Malaysian authorities or into the delightful hands of human trafficking brokers.

Malaysia, with its abundant natural resources and small population of 28 million, is not the land of opportunities if one is stateless, refugee or poor. Refugees are not recognized as refugees; Malaysians prefer to call them "illegal immigrants" in accordance to the laws, despite knowing the plights of those who live in oppression and misery. The government is keen to protect the privileges of the locals, while at the same time brand itself as a core element of Islamic progress and development. There is no empathy in Malaysia for the Rohingya community. There is only detention, prosecution of those illegally staying in the land of the free... and there is also the festering prejudice against people who are seen as beggars. 

Some people are concerned that Rohingya will be radicalized if allowed sanctuary, or even the "steal our women" mentality. Prejudice breeds paranoia, and this in turn produces a Malaysian society bent on caring little about anyone except themselves and their expensive life-styles.

ASEAN cannot pressure Burma into giving citizenship to Rohingya. One can't expect a country run by generals-in-suits and failed activists to show a spark of humanity for a stateless community that no one seems to want. President Thein Sein wants Rohingya to be placed in Burmese detention camps or be deported though UNHCR has declined to such outrageous demand. And what is UN's stand on Rohingya, besides talking about their plights in the comforts of their UN offices and conducting yearly "Human Rights" seminars in countries like Malaysia? What's happening with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation? Nothing? Typical of the mentality of scholars, intellectuals and highly-paid consultants.

In the end, this behavior, or lack of empathy, will bring about the social meltdown of a proud society, be it in any part of South East Asia.

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