Malaysia backs call for dedicated Asean team to help Rohingya return home

Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah expressed his country’s support for a “full-time, dedicated team” to implement the repatriation of the Rohingya Muslims who have been displaced from their home in Myanmar’s conflict-riddled Rakhine state.

The proposal to establish such a team was made by Asean secretary-general Lim Jock Hoi.

“The full-time group should enlist volunteers from civil society organizations (CSOs) working on the process,” according to a statement posted on Abdullah’s personal Facebook page tonight.

“In this regard, Asean should facilitate a process of meaningful dialogue between Myanmar and Rohingya refugees in Cox Bazar, Bangladesh in order to build a foundation of trust needed for the facilitation of voluntary repatriation,” it added.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad flew in earlier this afternoon and will be leading the Malaysian delegation for the summit which has as its theme “advancing partnership for sustainability”.

The mass exodus of the Muslim Rohingya people from their home in Myanmar the last two years where they have been denied citizenship has been a problem for the regional bloc that has a strong non-interference policy.

Malaysia, which has sheltered an estimated 95,000 Rohingya, has been a vocal advocate of justice and citizenship for the refugees.

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