KUALA LUMPUR – The root cause of the crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine state must be addressed as there have been spillover effects, namely involving the internally displaced people (IDPs), irregular movement of people from the state, and their influx into neighbouring countries seeking refuge with Malaysia being the major recipient country in Southeast Asia, said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The prime minister, in his intervention at the 37th ASEAN Summit plenary session today, said the crisis in the Rakhine State requires in-depth and forthright discourse among the ASEAN member states.
“We have consistently advocated for a durable solution to the dire plight of the Rohingya, who are increasingly vulnerable to exploitation.
“Malaysia reaffirms the need for proportionate burden and responsibility sharing, and calls for the signatory countries of the 1951 Convention to uphold and stand committed to their international legal obligations to receive more refugees for resettlement or relocation,” he said.
Muhyiddin said Malaysia supports a repatriation process, which is voluntary, safe and dignified, of displaced persons from Rakhine State.
The Prime Minister is leading the Malaysian delegation at the biannual summit virtually from here (Kuala Lumpur), which runs from today until Sunday.
The summit is chaired by Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in his capacity as ASEAN Chair 2020 under the theme “Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN.”
Muhyiddin further said that the issue of irregular movement of persons, including its connection with smuggling and human trafficking in the region, requires all relevant parties to identify and address the root causes and other contributory factors, whether at the origin, during transit or destination as well as the involvement of relevant stakeholders.
“(This should be done) based on the principle of shared responsibility as well as a balanced approach between law enforcement and humanitarian response to tackle the challenges,” he said.
Also part of the Malaysian delegation to the 37th ASEAN Summit is Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein as well as Senior Minister and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
ASEAN, established in 1967, comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.