Rohingya issue – my heart was never bleeding - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Malaysiakini : “Do not sabotage the government’s effort in curbing Covid-19 in
the name of ‘human rights’. Does our country have the resources and
capacity to accommodate these refugees?”- MCA vice-president Tan Teik Cheng
| The “plight” of the Rohingya has somehow united the far-right and
progressive elements in social media, and the vitriol against the
community – online at least – has brought out allegations of
scapegoating and pleas for “empathy” for this community.
The PN’s government move to deny
a boatload of “Rohingya” refugees from entering Malaysia is a good
start as far as I am concerned, but using the excuse of the coronavirus
pandemic as some sort of prophylactic against charges of “inhumane
treatment” is complete horse manure, if you ask me.
should be denying and curtailing the influx of Rohingya into this
country, who for years have been living off the political machinations
of the Malay Muslim political establishment. When it was convenient to
use these “economic” migrants for political and religious purposes,
Malay political operatives from both sides of the divide were using them
as examples of the “injustices” the Muslim community faced in the world
and using them as a rallying cry for local Muslim solidarity.
course, there has been no discussion or accountability of the millions
of dollars of aid from Muslim countries and Western organisations for
the benefit of the Rohingya community, nor has there been accountability
for the numerous Rohingya organisations that claim to advocate for the
community but have been assimilated into various Muslim advocacy groups
in the country.
It is pointless talking about how the situation
started, the geopolitical shenanigans of Myanmar, Bangladesh, the US and
China. What we are dealing with is the economic fallout of decades of
political and religious manipulation of the state and the misguided
intentions of non-Malay participants in creating a powder keg of racial
imbalances in the majority Malay community.
already handicapped by interventionist state policies, which supposedly
protects their rights and privileges, have also to contend with various
migrant communities for a slice of the pie. The fact that the plight of
the Rohingyas is championed by the bourgeois class and looked on with
scepticism or outright hostility by the working class for years was
overlooked by the mainstream Malay political establishment.
state MCA apparatchik - whose quote begins this piece – talks about
looking after Malaysians, does anyone really think he means all
Malaysians? Does anyone really think that a non-Malay political
operative would dare make this sort of statement if the PN state was not
backing his play? If far-right elements on social media were not being
encouraged to wage a propaganda war on behalf of the state?
in mind what Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan said about this issue,
claiming that: “…Malaysia has 'far exceeded' its capacity to host
refugees as some parts of Malaysian cities have become 'too concentrated
with refugees' and resources to take care of their welfare.”
is just another way of saying that the Rohingya victimhood card is
overused and they are now just another migrant community that has taken
over certain sections of the urban enclaves and competing for resources
with the majority Malay community. We live in a country where race
is defined constitutionally and you can bet your last ringgit that the
money train is running low, hence the need to cut back on unnecessary
expenses. As it is, the religious apparatus that is riddled with
corruption has, over the years, been taking on the additional burden of
minding and using various Muslims migrant communities.
money has been spent taking care of these communities, especially in the
urban areas, while the Malay heartland has been left to its own devices
beyond putting in more stringent regulations and enforcement?
Rohingya community is more than just misery porn for bleeding hearts.
It is a complex network of pressure groups, criminal enterprises and
political and religious associations that are part of the greater
network of political corruption in this country. For me, this has
always been a security issue which unfortunately is not a new issue.
Four years ago, while Malaysia and its political apparatus were
glorifying the Rohingya cause, Jasminder Singh and Muhammad Haziq Jani
from the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang
Technological University, Singapore, did an extremely interesting piece
about this issue:
'The Rohingya Crisis: Regional Security Implications'
- Beyond security issues along the northern borders of Myanmar,
Southeast Asian countries must be vigilant. Malaysia, Indonesia and
Thailand have significant Rohingya refugee populations. These countries
must guard against the possible recruitment or radicalisation of the
refugees. It would be unfortunate if these refugees, in their
desperation, become members of terrorist organisations or commit
terrorist acts in their host countries.
For years, many in the
community made a living as participants in rent-a-crowd, protesting
against whatever imagined grievances the political far-right had against
political initiatives that promoted secularism, egalitarian policies
and were used to shout down non-Malay/non-Muslim voices. What we are
dealing with is radicalised non-citizens who were used by the state and
are now facing blowback from the majority community.
Keep in mind
that this idea that the Rohingya are fleeing from oppression is much
more complex than the narrative of most activists and state-sponsored
hacks. As reported by Al Jazeera last year, there is a
flourishing trade in brides – some even child brides – by
Malaysian-based Rohingya men who cannot find local women to marry.
refugees in Cox's Bazar have few options. They cannot work and have no
formal access to education. Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh fear forced
repatriation or relocation to the island.
All these push factors could lead to a real uptick in Rohingya families
- including girls - moving to Malaysia, some for child marriage."
Remember my obsession with Wang Kelian?
– “Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) and Fortify Rights,
the joint report said it had found "reasonable grounds" to believe that a
human-trafficking syndicate committed crimes against humanity in
Malaysia and Thailand against Rohingya men, women, and children from
2012 to 2015. The "Sold Like Fish"
report documents how Malaysian authorities destroyed a
human-trafficking campsite in Wang Kelian in the northern state of
Perlis, the day after its discovery in January 2015 - in a move that
potentially diminished evidence that could have aided a police
So what are we really talking about here? We are
talking about a complex business of human trafficking, political
malfeasance and egregious breaches from the state security apparatus
disguised as a human rights issue.
It benefits the state, or at
least it used to, that the Rohingya are economic migrants. The community
sustains a network of human trafficking which in turn greases the palms
of certain sections of the bureaucracy and politburo.
Now I get
that this may be uncomfortable for many people to read. This piece is
not meant to downplay the abuses that the Rohingya, and indeed many
disenfranchised groups, receive from the authoritarian states and even
supposedly liberal Western democracies.
The reality is that the
Rohingya issue exposes our criminality as much as it dispels the
victimhood card that many folks like to play on behalf of the community.
When it comes to the Rohingya, my heart was never bleeding.