Umno hits out at Myanmar over Rohingya crisis

Pemuda Umno chief Khairy Jamaluddin at the Dewan Merdeka in PWTC at the opening of the Youth, Wanita and Puteri wings assemblies.
Pemuda Umno chief Khairy Jamaluddin at the Dewan Merdeka in PWTC at the opening of the Youth, Wanita and Puteri wings assemblies.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR • Leaders from Malaysia's ruling party Umno called yesterday for Myanmar to end its persecution of its Rohingya Muslim minority, with Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin proposing that Asean review the country's membership.

"The principle of non-interference is void when there is large-scale ethnic cleansing in an Asean member state," the Umno Youth chief said to shouts of approval from delegates at the party's annual general assembly.

His counterpart from the Puteri (young women) wing, Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin, said in a speech at the party's annual meeting that supranational bodies such as Asean, the Organisation of Islamic Countries and the United Nations should adopt resolutions to end the "inhumane actions of the Myanmar regime".

"We call on the Nobel Prize Committee to revoke the Peace Prize from Aung San Suu Kyi," said Datuk Mas Ermieyati, who is also Deputy Tourism and Culture Minister, referring to Myanmar's State Counsellor and de facto leader.

Muslim-majority Malaysia has accepted hundreds of thousands of Myanmar refugees.


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Mr Khairy last week asked the Malaysian Cabinet to pull Malaysia out of an Asean soccer tournament co-hosted by Myanmar, but this was rejected by Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Datuk Seri Najib, along with other Muslim political leaders, is set to attend a gathering on Sunday to show solidarity with the Rohingya.

The Myanmar army has launched a bloody crackdown in the western state of Rakhine, with the UN saying at least 10,000 Rohingya have fled across the border into Bangladesh in recent weeks.

Those who escaped recounted stories of gang rape, torture and murder at the hands of security forces.

Myanmar has denied the allegations of abuse, saying the military is hunting for those behind raids on police posts last month.

Shannon Teoh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2016, with the headline 'Umno hits out at Myanmar over Rohingya crisis'. Print Edition | Subscribe