Thursday, March 22, 2012

95 - What is the Future of Rohingya in Malaysia???

By Muhammad Saifullah
The Rohingyas were compelled to leave their homeland by the oppressive regime and scattered across all over the world like neighboring Bangladesh, Thailand, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia respectively.

The Rohingya arrived in Malaysia in 1982 when their citizen rights in Burma were denied. As Malaysia is not signatory to 1951 convention and 1967 Protocol, it does not recognize any refugee in the country. All the refugees are considered illegal migrants under Malaysian immigration law.

I heard from some of the Rohingyas who arrived in Malaysia earlier said “Although we arrived in Malaysia in 1982 our children are still deprived basic right to education even who were born here and have been suffering all kinds of tortures, arrests, detentions, deportation and robbery by the locals till today.”

Rohingya refugees who took refuge in Malaysia are marginalized. Neither they are protected on close ground nor insisted under UNHCR mandate. Rohingyas are not recognized as mandated refugees by the UNHCR and the host country therefore, gave two options whether repatriation or resettlement but their resettlement for decade based Rohingya refugees is yet to be referred and even Rohingyas are not considered for resettlement at all while the other refugee groups are being resettled on weekly basis.

According to some refugees, “In 1992, the Malaysian government issued temporary document called “Pass Khas” to some Rohingya refugees which was given 6 month validity. No more pass cards were issued after one year. Since then and up to 2000, Rohingya survived without any legal documents. Therefore, people went through various difficulties such as robbery by the locals, arrest, detention and deportation by the Malaysian authority”.

The Rohingyas become victims of human trafficking and have to face various difficulties if they are deported to Thailand. They are sold to Thai agents by the Malaysian immigration. The agent send them back to Malaysia again after taking double money they paid to immigration. If they can not comply to pay the amount they are forced to work for them for months otherwise they are sold to Thai fishing boats where many of the Refugees were missing reportedly. If they deportees are women, they are raped by the agents and locals.

In 2000, the refugees were issued Surat Sumpa (Letter of swear) by the High Court of Malaysia as refugee. Later, it was intercepted by the authority because of fraud activities among both Refugees and Immigration officer.

An elder Rohingya said “In May 2002, the government of Malaysia announced all the illegal migrants should go back to their respective countries whether they are Rohingyas refugees or others no matter to be considered. The government of Malaysia never considered us as refugees and we have been given deadline to leave the country. As we left our country Burma for the well founded fear of persecution and to escape arbitrary arrest, torture and extra judicial killing by the military regime we were unable to be backing home where our lives would be in danger if we are deported or returned. Most of the Rohingyas were arrested after deadline and the punishment was too harsh for those who were arrested. Pitifully, we approached to UNHCR office Kuala Lumpur to seek help for our protection. Luckily, UNHCR agreed to issue us a letter called “Rohingya certification letter while after few months it was replaced on the name of “Temporary protection letter.”

According to Data collection report by UNHCR in 2002, about 12,000 (Twelve-Thousand) Rohingya refugees were registered, of them 3,000 (Three-Thousand) are children.

In 2004, following the announcement of Malaysia about Imm-13 (temporary visit pass or work permit) for Rohingyas, the UN Refugees’ Agency welcomed the decision and reduced its supports toward Rohingyas, and the agency is not paying more attention to solve the long standing problem of Rohingya by alternative way.

Agency’s commitment through short term assistances to some vulnerable cases is not enough and most cases of widowers, handicappers, cripples, aged, are not fallen into its expectation.

The Malaysian government does not pay clear attention to the suffering situation of the Rohingyas and considers as like as illegal immigrants under its Immigration Act. The government also believes that the Rohingyas’ are person of concern to the UNHCR and waiting for resettlement in 3rd countries or UNHCR is only refugee agency in taking care of all possible responsibilities.

The Rohingyas are victims of marginalization both by UNHCR and government of Malaysia. If the Rohingyas go to UNHCR office, they are replied the Malaysian government has already announced that you will be issued IMM-13 and you are no more person of concern to us.

Osman a Rohingya refugee said “If we approach to Malaysian government for help we are replied that you are person of concern to UNHCR and we do not recognize any refugee in our country under the law of Malaysia”.

When any cabinet Minister or Immigration officer is interviewed about the Rohingya they say “we do not arrest or torture any refugee who is holding UNHCR identity card except crime”. If the immigration and RELA officer are asked when we are arrested that we are refugees here we did not do any crime why we are being arrested. At that time, we are replied you are illegal as you don’t have legal document here that is your crime”.

Their children are not allowed to go for public school and even religious school too. It is a surprising matter to be heard that since 1982 from the start of Rohingyas’ arrival in Malaysia, not even a single child could manage to be a University student. It is out of record that not a single Rohingya child could make their way to be a doctor, an engineer or professional educationist who was born in Malaysia. Now, I have a question here that who has destroyed their golden lives? So, now you may able to understand what kinds of rights for the Rohingya are existed in Malaysia?

Indeed, Rohingya refugees have no hope in Malaysia for their future and they have already destroyed the golden lives of their past generation over here. So, Rohingya refugees would like to call and send their silent voice to the international community to stand in favor of help and assistance to bring a durable solution through the resettlement program like other refugees. And they also would like to request UNHCR Malaysia to kindly favor them and consider their vulnerability and to take an effective measure to save their future generation through the resettlement program in the signatory countries where their lives would not be in danger any more. Save the Rohingyas from danger, educate the Rohingyas from backward, protect the Rohingyas from the risks and shelter the Rohingyas from statelessness.

Muhammad Saifullah is a Burmese activist serving Rohingya community while teaching refugee children in Malaysia for 3-year. For more details please visit

Bali Process A Test For Rohingyas Destiny

By Muhammad Saifullah
4th April 2009: One of the most unfortunate Muslim ethnic minorities Rohingya is untold sufferer of more than 40 years silent genocide and victims of defecto-statelessness in Arakan state, the western province of Myanmar (Burma). Now a day, the termed Rohingya becomes on the spot-light and international attention has been drawn when scores of Rohingyas landed to the Indonesian shores following the allegation of their boats being dragged to sea by Thai Navy and abandoned in rickety, engine-less boat, which resulted more than 500 Rohingyas lost their lives in the ocean, while the policy has provoked widespread condemnation.

At the end of recent ASEAN summit in Hua Hin, Thailand, the ASEAN leaders already decided to call them illegal migrants from the Indian Ocean? Does anybody believe that human beings are produced by the ocean? If so, it might not be wrong that the Thai army towed the boats of Rohingya refugees and setting them adrift toward Indian Ocean and deserted them to die, because they are creation of ocean according to decision made by ASEAN leaders. As they could not find out the solution of Rohingya in their summit, it has been shifted to Bali Process which will be held on 14-15 April, 2009. The faith of Rohingyas would be tested by Bali Process so far.

leaders who confess themselves that they respect and ready to establish human rights, are more voracious for their own benefits throughout big business rather than maintaining human rights in the regions in the course of saving lives of innocent people facing various human rights violations in their own and neighboring countries like the Rohingya inside Burma and exile.

The Tiger of ASEAN (Myanmar) denied the Rohingyas citizenship since 1982 because of their religious and political belief. In the summit, at the foreign ministry level meeting the Foreign Minister of Myanmar mentioned that it could only take those who could be identified as its Bengali ethnic minority and not the Rohingya. It makes acknowledged that they military regime has been treating them as illegal and oppressing unconditionally in Arakna, Burma according to their statement.

Besides, a memo faxed to journalists and published in various media by the Burmese consul in Hong Kong, insisted Rohingya cannot be real Burmese, as they are dark-skinned and as ugly as ogres. It does not make scene that dark-skinned cannot be citizen of red skinned country. In this case, sending them back to a country where they face even worse treatment than the average Burmese citizen does not emerge a sensible solution.

According to reliable information from Arakan State, now the military regime has been snatching the previous ID card from Rohingyas which indicates to citizen of Burma and issuing white ID card instead, which points toward FRC as foreigners, while the Rohingya are being made to receive it forcefully. The FRC holders cannot get passports to travel and they do not have right to take part in any election.

Few days later, it might be happened soon that the regime will announce the Rohingyas are agree on the term ‘Bengali Rohingya’, hiding the reality.

Now, some of the original Bengali people who are making benefits doing business and staying in safe inside Burma have been being given chance to travel abroad and to stay legally on the banner of Rohingya by the military regime for their personal-profits. Such people are being used as Bengali Rohingya by the military regime to show and able to prove the world that the Rohingyas are from Bangladesh, destroying the good images and the origins of Arakanes-Rohingya who have been staying in Arakan State since 7 Century.

Historically, it is revealed that Arakan was neither a part of Burma nor Bangladesh. Arakan was an independent region ruled by Muslims for years. Bangladesh was gained independence from Pakistan merely in 1971 and the Rohingyas have been living in Arakan since 7 century.

Rohingyas are not extremists or separatists group and they never thought of separate a country. Thus they are struggling for their peace, freedom and to save their future generation from darkness. The Rohingyas are peace loving people and so far they want to work together with other Burmese pro-democracy groups who have been struggling to insure democracy in Burma.

But they do not have their own voice to advocate their cause to the international community as it has become well-known to everybody in the world that “the Rohingyas are made educationally back warded, economically crippled, politically liquidated, religiously persecuted, culturally assimilated, racially discriminated, ethnically exterminated, socially degraded and traditionally doomed by the military regime for decades.”

According to UNHCR report, 230,000 Rohingyas now live a precarious stateless existence in Bangladesh, having fled their ancestral homeland Arakan after decades of abuse and harassment at the hands of its dictator military regime. Beside Bangladesh, there are large numbers of Rohingya refugees languishing in Malaysia, Thailand and middle-east.

During the recent visit of Mr. Antonio Guterres, United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to Arakan State of Myanmar (Burma) 鈥渃ame to conclusion that UNHCR’s current level of activities in northern Rakhing state where Rohingyas live does not correspond to the actual needs and a decision was taken to upgrade the program with immediate effect, a UN statement announced on 12th of March 2009.

He visited Sittwe, the capital city of Arakan (Rakhing state) and also traveled to the port town of a big ocean where many of the Rohingya migrants are thought to have deceased. Being a Chief Representative of UNHCR, he came to understand that what is going on Rohingyas and how they are surviving after just his first visit. So, he kind heartedly urges to extend focus on the Rohingyas who have been passing lives in Arakan under military rule.

Now, you may think why the Rohingyas are jumping in the sea and ready to die instead of passing lives in their homeland. But some of the leaders still decline to say Rohingyas are refugees and kept the Rohingya problem unsolved.

There are more than thirteen thousand Rohingyas refugees in Malaysia, registered with United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Most of them are languishing for more than decades, while the future of their first generation has already been destroyed for the lack of facility to be educated. Neither the government recognized the Rohingyas and nor the UNHCR as its mandated refugees. The Rohingya children are not allowed to study in government school even religious school as Refugees are considered illegal in Malaysia.

It is very disappointing matter to see some of the policies of UNHCR in Malaysia are almost indicate to dissatisfactory, now refugees are categorized into different ways, such as, some refugees have been issued UNHCR Identity Card (ID) writing ‘UNHCR MANDATED REFUGEE’ on the back side of their cards and the categorized refugees like Rohingyas were written in different way, which does not indicate or understand whether they are refugee or not.
As a result, if they find for work to survive, the employers say you are not allowed to work in our country because you are still ‘illegal’ and the resettling countries also feel in doubt to relocate them in their countries only because of the word Refugee.

In 2007, in an interview with TV7, Mr. Volka Turk, the former Representative of UNHCR in Malaysia said, “refugee is a person like you and me and they belong to same rights as human beings regardless of race and religion.”

It is a surprising matter to be heard that in 2008, 17,000 (Seventeen thousands) refugees were newly registered and 6,000(Six thousands) were resettled in third-countries by the UNHCR in Malaysia. But unfortunately, there were not more than 100 Rohingyas among them.

However, the UNHCR Malaysia has been denying the allegation and saying that they are treating the refugees as equal basis, regardless of race and religion. Among the Burmese refugee groups registered with the UNHCR, Rohingyas were the large and first refugee community in Malaysia since 1992 and their long standing problem still remains unsolved. They are victims of torture and Rohingya women are at risk both in Burma and exile.

It is well-known and obvious that Malaysian government has already announced it does not recognized Refugees at all as Malaysia is not a signatory to 1951 convention and 1967 Protocol related to the status of refugees.

After the recent ASEAN summit, when Datuk Sri Abdullah Ahmed Badawi, the prime minister of Malaysia was asked to had comment on the Rohingya, he said e have some problems with the Rohingya. When they come to us of course we know that they are from Myanmar, but when we ask Myanmar, they ask: “are you sure they are our people? What evidence have you got?” So, we have to be firm at all borders to turn them back. If the International groups help them we will be very happy. It clearly indicates that Malaysia has no policy to accept refugees or asylum seekers even Rohingya.

According to United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a refugee is ‘who has been forced to leave his/her own country because of circumstances, such as human rights abuses, conflict and non-acceptance by the government because of religious or political beliefs or ethnic group.’ Are the Rohingyas deserved for the Refugee status? Does the UNHCR need to find permanent solution for the Rohingya? But UNHCR pay less attention on this persecuted minority group and International Community is not well-aware of the situation faced by Rohingya inside Burma and exile.

As their repatriation to Burma and local solution in Malaysia become impossible, UNHCR in Malaysia should interfere in the Rohingya-case and need to find the way to permanent solution through the resettlement program like other Burmese refugees in order to solve their long standing problem and to save their future generation as Rohingya refugees always depend on UNHCR and International Community to get every sort of assistance for the sake of humanity and thus they are deserved for it.

Muhammad Saifullah, Email:

Incidence of Rape Increases in Northern Arakan

Incidence of rape increases in Northern Arakan
Friday, 07 May 2010 21:52
Buthidaung, Arakan State: Recently the incidence of rape by Burma’s border security force (Nasaka) personnel has increased in northern Arakan State, Buthidaung townships, according to sources.

Nasaka personnel use rape as a weapon on the Arakanese Rohingya community while on duty to check family lists of the Rohingya at midnight in the villages. Nasaka personnel are known to rape Arakanese Rohingya women in front of family members, according to a school teacher from Buthidaung.

On April 20, Rahana ( not real name), (30) from Oo Hla Pay village tract of Buthidaung Township, was raped by Nasaka personnel Tun Aye and Poe Cho from Nasaka camp 21 at gunpoint in her house at about 3 am,. She became unconscious after both Nasaka personnel raped her, said a village official.

Her parents wanted to complain to higher authorities of Nasaka but, were unable to for fear of reprisal likes torture, assault among others, said Rahana’s relative.

Beside, another girl Khatun 21, (not real name) was raped by Nasaka personnel Than Tin on April 15 at around 2 am.

Again, on April 18, Hasina 30 (not real name) was raped by Nasaka personnel from the outpost of Oo Hla Pay under camp No. 21 after being arrested on false allegation as she refused to go to the camp. She was kept two days in the camp where five Nasaka personnel raped her. Later, she was sent to her house in a critical condition, said a villager.

A politician from Buthidaung said, in Burma the junta promises the election will be fair and free and the country will become peaceful, but our country is becoming worse with increasing harassment and rapes. The military junta is just fooling the international community. Elections will never ever be free and fair in Burma.

Camp Security man killed Rohingya woman

Camp security man killed Rohingya woman
Thursday, 06 May 2010 22:28
Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazaar: An unregistered Arakanese Rohingya refugee woman of Kutupalong makeshift camp was killed by camp security man (Anser) on March 25 in Chittagong, said a refugee from the camp.

The alleged killer was identified as Mohamed Zaiur Rahaman, with Rang No. (28538). He was arrested in Chittagong on May 5, the refugee said.

Nur Fatema , 32, daughter of Abul Bashar, was living in the Kutupalong makeshift camp which is beside the UNHCR official camp, the refugee added.

Nur Fatema, the victim was brought to Chittagong from the unregistered Kutupalong makeshift camp to get married to Anser Zairur Rahaman. He did not get married and killed her, sources added.

On March 24, Anser Ziaur Rahaman with Nur Fatema went to the New Golden City Hotel as husband and wife, where they booked a room. They stayed in room number 210, in the hotel which is near Holonkar in the main station of Chittagong-Dhaka high way, said the hotel manager.

The next day, Zaiur went out of the hotel and in the evening the hotel boy went to collect the room rent, but there was no answer from inside the room. So he called the manager. On suspicion, the manager called the police. The police found the body of Nur Fatema in the room, said sources.

The police was searching for Ziaur Rahaman with the details of registration and calling list from a mobile which found in the room of the hotel. After more than a month, Chittagong police found him and arrested him on charges of murder yesterday from the UNHCR official camp of Kutupalong, said a source from Ukiya police station.

According to sources, many Arakanese Rohingya women were raped by local goons and government security forces in Bangladesh. They came to Bangladesh as it is a Muslim country to escape religion persecution, movement restriction, marriage restriction and other human right abuses such as rape, extortion, torture and extra judicial killings by Nasaka, Military junta, Sarapa (Intelligence Department) and police in Arakan State, Burma.

An elderly old man from the makeshift camp said, “We are facing same as like as Burma in Bangladesh, where is our security of life and safety.”

Leadership Training for the members of RSM

29 – 30 Mei 2010
Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, 11700 Gelugor, Pulau Pinang
29 Mei 2010

8.00 pagi: Pendaftaran
8.30 pagi: Majlis Iftitah dan Pengenalan Objektif Program
9.00 pagi: Sessi 1: Memahami isu kedudukan Muslimin seluruh dunia.
Apakah status umat Islam Rohingya masakini di Myanmar dan di luar Myanmar ?
Bagaimana keadaan dan maklumat terkini pelarian Rohingya di Malaysia dan isu-isu yang sedang dihadapi oleh mereka sekarang?
Matlamat perjuangan kita – Jangka pendek dan jangka panjang.
10.15 pagi: Rehat /Minum
10.30 pagi: Sambungan Sessi 1
11.30 pagi: Sessi 2: Kepentingan menjadi pemimpin yang berfikiran luas dan
berwawasan jauh.
12.30 pagi: Sessi 3: Bagaimana bekerja dalam organisasi secara berkesan?
1.15 ptg: Rehat / Makan / Solat
2.45 ptg: Sessi 4: Kemahiran merancang dan melaksana sesuatu program dengan
3.45 ptg: Sessi 5: Melaksanakan tanggungjawab dalam RSM mengikut biro-biro
yang diamanahkan.
4.30ptg: Rehat / Solat Asar/ Minum
5.15 ptg: Sessi 6: Bagaimana mengumpul dana.
6.15 ptg : Rehat / Maghrib / Makan / Solat Isya
8.30 mlm: Sessi 7: Bagaimana mengadakan hubungan dan bekerja dengan NGO di
Malaysia dan di peringkat antarabangsa.
10.00 mlm: Persembahan Budaya
30 hb Mei 2010
5.30 pagi: Solat Subuh /Kuliah Subuh :
“Sesungguhnya Solatku dan Ibadahku dan Hidupku dan Matiku adalah
hanya untuk Rabbul Alamin”
7.00 pagi: Sarapan
8.30 pagi: Sessi 8: Mengenalpasti keutamaan dan merancang taqwim/kalendar
RSM 2010 - 2011
10.15 pagi: Sessi 9: Sambungan Sessi 8
12.00 tgh: Sessi 10: Pernyataan azam dan komitmen kita
1.00 ptg: Sessi penutup
1.30 ptg: Makan dan bersurai

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