S'pore has background to help in Rohingya crisis

Singapore, as Asean chair, must get Myanmar to handle its Rohingya crisis quickly and effectively, so it can move on to other pressing matters (A challenging year for Singapore foreign policy; Jan 5).

Together with the rest of the grouping, it has the means to cajole Myanmar's leadership to accept the Rohingya as its responsibility and deal with them fairly.

Singapore can draw on its own experience as a successful multiracial, multi-religious and multicultural experiment, offering lessons on how to get the people of Myanmar to embrace one another and work together as one for the greater good of the nation.

Singapore, of course, continues to encourage all parties, including the Myanmar government and the international community, who hand-in-hand can foster a long-term solution to the Rohingya refugee crisis. Its position is that those directly responsible ensure the safety and protection of all people, regardless of race or religion.

Meanwhile, at 50, Asean has come of age, and has the potential to set the pace for Asia to follow.

This will ensure even more growth and a better life for all people of South-east Asia, coming together and working as one towards a common goal.

Asean has to be committed to ensuring more interaction, trade and business is carried out between members, and by extension, with the rest of the world.

That would intensify the dynamism of the region, where countries around the globe can come and seek opportunities which would be of benefit to all. The countries in Asean should work towards becoming a compact trading bloc, and Singapore can play a significant role in ensuring this.

Manoraj Rajathurai