To the everlasting shame of Msia, we are a country hostile to refugees.

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 justified it under the MCO, according to which no foreigners or vessels may enter the country without approval. We expressed concerns about Covid-19 and limited resources.

I'd have an easier time believing that if we didn't do the same in 2015 when those weren't a concern.
Are Covid-19 clusters a legitimate concern? Yes

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.
To say Msia is a conservative country wouldn't be as accurate as to say we're a NATIONALIST one

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.
Malaysian nationalism brims with pride at the facade of multicultural aesthetics in its society that so easily break down in the face of dissent against the status quo.
Any attempt to question the terms of national unity is taken as a seditious insult to the romanticised myth of the generous host's good graces to even allow "guests" such an extended stay.

These are the underlying racial tensions the tourist slogans and unity rhetoric cover up.
Nothing throws a wrench into that like the inclusion of refugees and migrants. Groups who don't fit into the strictly defined ethnonationalist narrative holding up this tenuous status quo.
Migrants are regarded as inconvenient necessities whose labor is worthy of praise and pity, but certainly not concessions to improve their welfare.

Refugees though are scorned outright as burdens irrespective of their plight. International law and baseline morality be damned.
To be fair, public opinion isn't entirely reflective of a degree of state efforts to accommodate refugees.

Historically, Malaysia has played (reluctant) host to numerous refugee groups from across the region.
From the Vietnamese "boat people" and Cham Muslims from Cambodia fleeing conflict in Indochina, to the Filipinos fleeing Mindanao and the Achenese from Indonesia.

All of them came to Malaysia seeking refuge.
(Not so) Fun fact: The aftermath of the Vietnam War saw 2 million Vietnamese flee the country as "boat people".

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.
At one point, it was said to be the most populated place in the world. 40,000 packed into a space slightly larger than a football field.

They eked out a living in spite of the conditions and the Old Man's threat to expel them n shoot newcomers on sight.
Malaysia has never ratified the 1951 Convention on Refugees, which means we don't legally recognise their status as refugees.

In the eyes of Malaysian law, they're "illegal migrants" privy to scant protection beyond ad hoc measures.
I've gone into detail over this in the thread below, but here's the rundown.

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.
We've trapped them in a situation where they've been denied the basic avenues for preservation and mobility.

Inevitably making them vulnerable to exploitation, poverty and crime.

It's a self-fulfilling prophecy we've cornered them into.
When unbearable hardship makes them suspicious of authority or drives them to desperate measures, we condemn them for being "ingrates".

Worse, this condemnation isn't exclusive to Malay supremacists, but comes from non-Malays just as severely.
Some refuse to sympathize with the Rohingya due to where they fit into the rhetoric of Islamist solidarity. Others, view their integration as unfair competition in a society where non-Muslims are already hamstring by a lack of equality.
Some even find a common scapegoat to punch down on to be a good thing for flexing Malaysian nationalism.

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.
There's no common ground to be had with those who will never see you as their fellow man. There's nothing to be built on this xenophobic patting of backs.

On non-bumi anxieties of strengthening Islamist overtures, I'll concede that fear is at least somewhat understandable.
Ketuanan Melayu has placed an ideological premium on Islamic brotherhood in its assertion of power over non-bumi minorities. I can see where the fear of enfranchising the Rohingya strengthening that dynamic comes from.

However, to that I would say...
The slander hurled at the Rohingya was once said - is STILL being said - about Chinese and Indians.

Rejecting solidarity that transcends ethno-religious lines keeps us shackled to the political paradigm of Ketuanan Melayu where sectarianism determines our principles and humanity
By forging solidarity with marginalized peoples in the name of ideals that transcend ethnic or national identity and demanding policies to that end, you inflict major damage on Ketuanan Melayu's power structure.

Far more so than you would by simply refusing support for Muslims.
To Malay-Muslims I would ask: Hasn't the ethnonationalist war machine that's claimed to champion Islamic values as its guiding ideology revealed its treacherous nature?
The Palestinian cause, righteous as it is, is championed out of convenience. Theirs is a far away conflict we can afford to pay lip service to without ramifications. But when the oppressed Muslim community in question is closer to home and requires direct aid and solidarity....
...all of a sudden their a plague? Because the Rohingya, who've suffered ethnic cleansing and harrowing sea voyages for a life of marginalization and exploitation, don't behave "grateful" enough?
I dare say you'd be less than model citizen if you had to go through even a fraction of their hardships.

The time is long overdue for Malaysians of all stripes to be moved by something besides a pervasive fear of "The Other".
Ratify the 1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocols.

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.
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