Malaysia will build a field hospital in Teknaf to provide treatment to 300,000 Rohingya who have fled brutal persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine State and taken refuge in Bangladesh.
Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the Malaysian deputy prime minister who is currently visiting Dhaka, disclosed this while briefing the media after a meeting with Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali in the state guesthouse Padma on Sunday.
Hamidi said: “We will build up a hospital within two to three months for 300,000 Rohingya refugees who took shelter in Bangladesh.”
He added that Malaysia will also seek support from the ASEAN countries to resolve the ongoing Rohingya crisis.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam, and Malaysian Minister for Human Resources Dr Richard Riot Anak Jaem were also present at the meeting.
Mahmood Ali had briefed Hamidi about the difficulties faced by Bangladesh due to mass exodus of more than half a million Rohingya since late August.
He mentioned that Bangladesh was now hosting over 900,000 forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals. Of them, around 540,000 took shelter in Bangladesh after August 25, when the Myanmar security forces launched a crackdown in response to a militant attack on police outposts and an army base in Rakhine.
The foreign minister pointed out that the Myanmar army with the support of ethnic Rakhine armed vigilantes were carrying out an organised and systematic violence, arson and atrocities against the Rohingya civilians to depopulate the northern Rahine State and prevent their possible return.
Mahmood Ali also added that Bangladesh has given shelter to the Rohingya temporarily on humanitarian grounds and they will have to go back to their homes in Rakhine at the soonest.
He said the root of the problem was in Myanmar and the solution also lies there.
Referring to the discussion on the refugees’ return with Myanmar Union Minister at the State Counsellor’s Office U Kyaw Tint Swe during his recent Dhaka visit, Mahmood Ali mentioned that the major issues were yet to be addressed.
“The agreed principles and criteria of 1992 need to be revised to address the current challenge. The international community and UN agencies should be allowed to support the repatriation process,” said the foreign minister.
He appreciated Malaysia’s initiative in providing humanitarian assistance to the persecuted Rohingya refugees.
Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi applauded the Bangladesh government for sheltering the Rohingya and its efforts to provide them with humanitarian aid.
Hamidi mentioned that Malaysia was deeply concerned at the disturbing developments in Myanmar and took strong position on the Rohingya issue in the UN and other regional forums.
Malaysia also supported involvement of the international community and UN in the repatriation process, he said, adding that Malaysia and Bangladesh could be leading partners in resolving the problem.
Hamidi is scheduled to visit the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar on Monday.
Bangladeshi expatriate workers issue
Employment of Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia had also featured prominently during Sunday’s meeting.
Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam thanked Malaysia for allowing irregular Bangladeshi workers to regularise themselves through the re-hiring programme.
Expressing gratitude for including Bangladesh as an official source country for recruiting foreign workforce, he also conveyed the government’s readiness to provide trained security guards to Malaysia.
In the meeting, both sides also discussed present status of implementation of the Government to Government Plus (G2G+) scheme for recruiting Bangladeshi workers and agreed to speed up the whole process.
Earlier, Malaysia had showed interest to recruit security guards from Bangladesh.