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Najib says Malaysia not meddling with Myanmar as Rohingya is ‘universal’ issue -

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak giving his closing speech at the 2016 Umno general assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre, December 3, 2016. ― Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 ― Malaysia is not attempting to intervene in the sovereign affairs of Myanmar but is taking a strong stand against its treatment of the Rohingya people because of universal human values, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.

“This is not intervention. This is universal human values,” he said in his closing speech at the 2016 Umno general assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre here.

Najib also confirmed his participation in a mass solidarity gathering with the Myanmar Muslim minority at Stadium Titiwangsa here tomorrow morning.

He told the Myanmar government to “change its attitude” towards the Rohingya, adding that neither his administration nor his party would change their stance on the matter.

An official with the Myanmar’s President’s Office reportedly chided Malaysia after news reports emerged that Najib was to join in a solidarity gathering tomorrow to protest against Myanmar’s military operations in the Rakhine state, where the Rohingya are from.

“According to Asean principles, a member country does not interfere in other member countries’ internal affairs. We have always followed and respected this principle. We hope that the Malaysian government will continue to follow it,” U Zaw Htay told The Myanmar Times yesterday.

He reportedly added that the Malaysian gathering was a calculated political decision to win local support and had little to do with Myanmar.

But Najib said that Putrajaya is taking a stand on the matter because if left alone, the Rohingya issue would affect the social safety and security of other countries, including Malaysia, where the Myanmar ethnic group have fled to as refugees.

An estimated 56,000 Rohingya are in Malaysia as refugees, according to the Foreign Ministry.

“This does not mean we do not respect their sovereignty but this has gone beyond the issue of sovereignty,” he told a news conference later.

He said that history will judge Malaysians if the country remained silent while the Rohingya were driven out of their home state by the Myanmar military and its majority ethnicities.

Over a score of Rohingya people have been reportedly killed and hundreds more taken into custody from Muslim-majority towns since the Myanmar military started operations to nab suspects linked to attacks on its border guard posts on October 9.

The Myanmar government has repeatedly denied allegations of abuse but The Myanmar Times reported that journalists and external observers have been barred from accessing the military operation zones to independently verify information.

The Myanmar report cited UN estimates that 30,000 people in the northern Rakhine state have been displaced by the violence.

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