Syed Hamid Albar slammed Muhyiddin’s government last month for its decision to “block the live-saving rescue of refugees on boats”.
Syed Hamid commented on May 2 that “the recent backlash against the Rohingya by Malaysian citizens also indicates the implication of the absence of government policies to develop policies and frameworks to regularize people who require our protection”.
The Rohingya have been victims of targeted violence for decades, he added, and Malaysia cannot return them into the hands of their persecutors.
BELOW: Marina Mahathir echoed Syed Hamid that ‘Malaysia must progress on Rohingya refugees, not regress’
Malaysia must progress on Rohingya refugees, not regress — Syed Hamid Albar | Malay Mail malaymail.com/news/what-you-…—
Marina Mahathir (@netraKL) May 02, 2020
Syed Hamid however sang a different tune when he was foreign minister in the Mahathir cabinet 1.0. He had been adamant then that “We do not recognize the status of refugees”.
“[W]e only allow foreigners to stay on a temporary basis after which they have to go back,” he was quoted by the NST as saying on 4 Sept 1999.
Err, what about Rohingya requiring our protection and not returning them into the hands of their persecutors?
But Syed Hamid was only taking his cue from the boss. Under Mahathir’s watch as Prime Minister 1.0, Malaysia arrested and detained 18 Rohingya in the Semenyih illegal immigrants camp in June 2001 for deportation to Burma after their request for UNHCR refugee status was denied.
Malaysia is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention and is thus under no obligation to recognize refugee status.
“The Rohingya have no legal status in Malaysia and hold no documents. In 1997, Malaysia’s prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, asked the government of Burma to help Malaysia deport 8,000 Burmese ‘illegal immigrants’,” said a January 1999 report by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.
This non recognition was true when Mahathir called the Rohingya “illegal immigrants” and remains true when our present Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin reiterated (below) on April 30 that the Rohingya are PATI.
Double standards okay, triple standards even better
The Mahathir 1.0 government had feared that by affording protection to refugees, it would create a “pull factor”, said the Human Rights Watch NGO in its July 2000 report.
The Muhyiddin government shares the same concerns on both counts. One, letting Rohingya boats into Langkawi will open the floodgates to people-smuggling from Cox’s Bazar. Two, providing the Rohingya with legal documents and refugee status will be an opening for more demands.
Apparently the Chinese virtue signalers have one standard for their Beloved Tun and a different one for the hated Muhyiddin.
DAP’s 95 percent Chinese voters have also an infinite reservoir of trust for believing again and again and again that Mahathir is the key to their Malaysia Baru utopia.
ABOVE: Ask Hannah Yeoh & DAP if they have any idea why Mahathir never liked the Vietnamese boat people
Vietnamese boat people were human too
In June 1979, Mahathir told the world that if the ethnic Chinese refugees from Vietnam tried sinking their boats in Malaysian waters, “they will not be rescued”.
He added that if the Vietnamese boat people drowned, ”their drowning will be because they sank their own boats, not anything else”.
An appeal by the UNHCR for compassion was rejected by Mahathir who said Malaysia was prepared to “start sending all the Vietnamese illegal immigrants in the country out in boats to international waters in stages” (story reported on New York Times front page under the headline ‘Malaysia to Put 70,000 Refugees Back Out to Sea’).
Nonetheless in April 2020, Mahathir said the Muhyiddin administration was “inhumane” (tidak berperikemanusiaan) for refusing to allow Rohingya human trafficking boats to enter our territorial waters during the coronavirus lockdown.
His comments were reported by Bernama under the headline ‘Tun: Don’t hate Rohingyas as they are victims of cruelty’.
BELOW: Dear Marina, “the boat people that your daddy didn’t want … # Vietnamese-of-Chinese-descent” — there! I’ve corrected your tweet for you