We offer the bare minimum while refusing to ratify the 1951 Refugee Convention and still expect eternal gratitude.
It's a hideous alignment of factors that came together to foster this merciless xenophobia.
We tossed some food on their ship and turned them away.
The very tone of this piece speaks to an utter lack of sympathy. https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/04/17/royal-malaysian-air-force-foils-bid-by-200-rohingya-in-boat-to-enter-malays/1857482
KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 — Prompt action by a Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) C-130H surveillance aircraft prevented 200 Rohingya in a boat from entering the country illegally yesterday. The C-130H...https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/04/17/royal-malaysian-air-force-foils-bid-by-200-rohingya-in-boat-to-enter-malays/1857482
Hundreds left adrift at sea for almost two months suffering from starvation and dehydration. Barely able to walk after being rescued. More than 40 dead. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/16/bangladesh-rescues-hundreds-of-rohingya-drifting-at-sea-for-nearly-two-months
I'd have an easier time believing that if we didn't do the same in 2015 when those weren't a concern.
Claiming it was to send "the right message" http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/13/malaysia-tells-thousands-of-rohingya-refugees-to-go-back-to-your-country
Minister says his country is unwilling to accept boatloads of people fleeing poverty and persecution in Bangladesh and Burmahttp://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/13/malaysia-tells-thousands-of-rohingya-refugees-to-go-back-to-your-country
Are a lack of facilities to adequately quarantine Rohingya refugees and shelter them after a concern? Yes
But let's not pretend like we seriously considered their accommodation. We were all too happy to expel them.
It's an odd kind of nationalism. One defined by the racial peacekeeping terms of a so-called "social contract" between Malays and non-Malays, but also one enforced by Ketuanan Melayu.
These are the underlying racial tensions the tourist slogans and unity rhetoric cover up.
Refugees though are scorned outright as burdens irrespective of their plight. International law and baseline morality be damned.
Historically, Malaysia has played (reluctant) host to numerous refugee groups from across the region.
All of them came to Malaysia seeking refuge.
A total of 250,000 of them would eventually make their way to Malaysia.
We set up a camp for them on Bidong Island, Terengganu.
They eked out a living in spite of the conditions and the Old Man's threat to expel them n shoot newcomers on sight.
In the eyes of Malaysian law, they're "illegal migrants" privy to scant protection beyond ad hoc measures.
They do not have the right to gainful employment, education or healthcare. We have no comprehensive policy framework with which to support them.
NGOs do the heavy lifting. https://www.twitter.com/RohanBeg/status/1009808308335603713
Inevitably making them vulnerable to exploitation, poverty and crime.
It's a self-fulfilling prophecy we've cornered them into.
Worse, this condemnation isn't exclusive to Malay supremacists, but comes from non-Malays just as severely.
It is an absolute fool's errand to find common cause with Malay supremacists who harbor the same hatred for non-bumi minorities as they do refugees.
On non-bumi anxieties of strengthening Islamist overtures, I'll concede that fear is at least somewhat understandable.
However, to that I would say...
Rejecting solidarity that transcends ethno-religious lines keeps us shackled to the political paradigm of Ketuanan Melayu where sectarianism determines our principles and humanity
Far more so than you would by simply refusing support for Muslims.
The time is long overdue for Malaysians of all stripes to be moved by something besides a pervasive fear of "The Other".
This isn't a citizenship. It merely grants refugees the opportunity to stand on their own two feet.
If you can't even accommodate that, let's stop pretending principles were ever part of the equation.