Actress Michelle Yeoh visits Rohingya refugee camp

Jen Raja Mohamed Affandi (left) and actress Michelle Yeoh visiting Rohingya children and handing out supplies to the refugees at the Balukhali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. PHOTO: BERNAMA

COX'S BAZAR, BANGLADESH (BERNAMA, SIN CHEW DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh, who is the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme, has visited sprawling refugee camps in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar as part of a Malaysian delegation led by its military chief.

Yeo, who played the role of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the movie The Lady, visited the Malaysian field hospital, which started operation in November last year, and also the Balukhali refugee camp, located about 10 minutes away from the hospital.

"It is very important that we are here... because what the Rohingya are going through is despicable and very tragic. It should not be allowed. Every single one of them deserves human rights that should be given to them," she told reporters on Saturday (Jan 27) during the visit with the special delegation led by Armed Forces chief, General Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohammed Noor.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Najib Razak flagged off the Rohingya Humanitarian Aid Mission and special delegation to visit the field hospital in Cox's Bazar at the Subang military air base.

The team comprised 57 representatives from the Prime Minister's Office, Malaysian Armed Forces and seven members of the media.

The mission aimed to evaluate the impact of assistance provided by Malaysia so far, and to ensure that the field hospital is equipped with adequate resources to tackle the medical situation of the Rohingya refugees.

Gen Raja Mohamed Affandi said Malaysia would look into ways to improve and upgrade the services provided by the field hospital to the Rohingya refugees.

"When we get back (to Malaysia), we will prepare a report on the proposals," he told Malaysian reporters after visiting the hospital.

Since November, the Malaysian medical team at the hospital has treated 3,768 patients. Malaysia has set up RM18 million (S$6 million) worth of medical facilities in the hospital and the three-month operation has incurred RM 3.5 million so far.

Yeoh said Datuk Seri Najib and the country have done amazing work on the issue and it was very important for Malaysia to help the Rohingya who faced suffering and oppression in Myanmar.

"We are very proud to recognise the fact that the Prime Minister was the one who championed this in the first place as a good neighbour and doing the right thing as a human being.

"He has shown great leadership together with the Bangladeshi government with our partners in Saudi (Arabia) and UAE (United Arab Emirates)," Yeoh said on Saturday.

Deep-seated mistrust festers between Buddhist and the Muslim minority group Rohingya in Rakhine in Myanmar, as well as between each of these communities and the government.

There are now more than 900,000 Rohingyas in the Cox's Bazar area of Bangladesh, after 688,000 fled violence in Myanmar that flared up in late August. The UN has described the crackdown as ethnic cleansing.

Aid workers say the camps sheltering the new arrivals are completely inadequate. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has vaccinated over 500,000 Rohingyas against diphtheria and on Saturday health workers began giving 350,000 children a second dose. But a new health concern over mumps has arisen, Reuters reported.

Nobel Laureate Suu Kyi's image as a rights defender has continued to plummet over her failure to speak out for the Rohingya in the face of overwhelming evidence of their suffering.

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