The continuous effort of Malaysia to help the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh receives praises and appreciation from the Group of Eight Developing Islamic Countries (D-8) specifically by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said, in fact, Erdogan, as the ninth Chairman of the D-8 Summit Meeting, which ended here yesterday also officially stated the commitment to help the Rohingya refugees other than stressing the need for other Islamic nations to follow in Malaysia’s footsteps to help and solve the crisis of the Rohingya community.
“President Erdogan had commented at length in his speech on the matter and he appreciated very much Malaysia’s effort in extending humanitarian aid to the Rohingya people who had to leave their homeland.
“He (Erdogan) had also informed us that his wife and son have also visited Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh and this has shown not only his official but also personal commitment to help,” he told Malaysian media here today.
Asked about the next course of action after this, Ahmad Zahid conceded the effort to help the Rohingya community was strewn with thorns, nevertheless, a holistic solution must be done.
He said among the early measures was to urge the international community to pressure the Myanmar government to enable the Rohingya refugees to return to their homeland.
Ahmad Zahid said during unofficial discussions with Erdogan and Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla here, he (Ahmad Zahid) also recommended that in order to realise this an International Monitoring Team be set up to guarantee the security of the refugees.
According to Ahmad Zahid, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman would be briefed on the proposal, which was too premature to be turned into a policy, to be brought before the Cabinet, and after being agreed upon, it would be delivered via the relevant international channel.
Asked on the result of the D-8 Summit this time, he said he felt excited because Malaysia’s voice was respected and, in fact, Malaysia was set to head the group for four years from Jan 1, 2018 when Malaysia’s former ambassador to Egypt, Datuk Ku Jaafar Ku Shaari would become the new D-8 Secretary General.
He said Malaysia’s proposal that the tourism sector be boosted among the members of D-8 was also received in the conference’s resolution.
Ahmad Zahid, who headed the Malaysian delegation at the summit, said, in addition, Malaysia would also scrutinise a proposal by Turkey to increase the composition of the D-8 membership to enable more nations to benefit.
“Maybe, in the future, it will be expanded up to 20 countries to give a wide avenue to nations which were observers prior to this to also participate in the economic and commercial co-operation network,” he said.
The Deputy Prime Minister said the D-8 members were also mulling over the suggestion that the unanimous voice system being utilised currently be done away with when making decisions but on the other hand an agreement based on the voice of the majority was adequate.
“In this matter, Wisma Putra will fully scrutinise the proposal,” he said.
Set up on June 15, 1997, D-8 is an organisation for co-operation in the economic sectors of eight developing nations comprising Turkey, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan and Malaysia.