See More on Facebook


Bangladesh want Malaysian dealing with Rohingya

Solving Rohingya Crisis: Dhaka wants stronger role of Kuala Lumpur.

Written by

Updated: July 7, 2019

Bangladesh wants a stronger role of Malaysia, an influential member of the Asean, in addressing the Rohingya crisis as visiting Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah holds a meeting with his Bangladeshi counterpart in Dhaka today.

During the meeting, Dhaka would request Kuala Lumpur to reopen its labour market for Bangladeshis, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told The Daily Star yesterday.

Recruitment of Bangladeshi workers remains suspended since September last year following allegations of monopoly and charging high recruitment fees by a syndicate of 10 Bangladeshi recruiting agencies and their lobbies in Kuala Lumpur.

Foreign Minister Momen said, “We have to focus on two crucial issues — the Rohingya crisis and reopening of Malaysia’s labour market.”

He said he would urge Malaysia, which has been vocal in seeking justice for Rohingyas and their repatriation, to play a stronger role in this regard.

Saifuddin arrived in Dhaka yesterday on a three-day visit, first since assuming office last year. The two foreign ministers will hold the meeting at the State Guesthouse Padma.

The Malaysian foreign ministry in a press statement yesterday said Saifuddin is scheduled to visit a Malaysian field hospital and several Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar.

About one million Rohingyas, including around 741,000 who fled to Bangladesh since August 2017 escaping a military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, are living in squalid refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.

Though Myanmar signed a bilateral deal with Bangladesh in November 2017, and a tripartite repatriation deal with the UNDP and UN Refugee Agency in June last year, the repatriation could not be started as Rohingyas say there is no guarantee of safety, citizenship and other basic rights in Rakhine yet.

Meantime, clashes between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army, an ethnic rebel group, have escalated in Rakhine and Chin states since late last year, creating further worries for the repatriation.

Against such a backdrop, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad recently proposed formation of an independent international body to monitor repatriation to ensure that Rohingyas are not punished.

Speaking at the 34th Asean Summit in Bangkok on June 23, Mahathir also said the refugees’ opinions must be taken into consideration on the matter of repatriation because they are scared of going back.

Rohingya activist Tun Khin said Malaysia is the “lone champion” on the Rohingya case in the Asean, a regional bloc of Southeast Asian countries.

“Malaysia can play a key role in convincing the other Asean members. It should help take the issue to the International Court of Justice and create conducive conditions in Rakhine for the return of Rohingyas,” the UK-based Rohingya activist told The Daily Star over the phone recently.

Otherwise, the Asean would face trouble in future, he said. “Already, Rohingyas are taking risky sea journeys to Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia from the camps in Rakhine because they are living in conditions akin to open prisons.”

Tun Khin said Malaysia should take steps to put pressure on Myanmar. If Myanmar does not comply, the Asean should expel it from the bloc, he observed.

The Asean, which maintains the principle of non-interference in internal affairs of its member states, faced criticism for not speaking strong enough for the Rohingyas.


According to sources at the Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, an estimated eight lakh Bangladeshis are now living in Malaysia.

Rights groups say a large number of the undocumented foreign workers in Malaysia are victims of fraudulence and abuses either by Malaysian employers or companies and their brokers that were in charge of registering the undocumented workers in the previous years. Some of them are also victims of human trafficking.

Bangladesh had requested the Malaysian authorities to give a fresh chance for the undocumented Bangladeshis to get regularised, but they didn’t agree.


Enjoyed this story? Share it.

Daily Star
About the Author: The Daily Star is a leading English-language daily newspaper in Bangladesh.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here


Pakistan strongly condemns India’s remarks about ‘having control’ of AJK one day

The remarks were made by India’s foreign minister. India’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that Azad Jammu and Kashmir belongs to India and that he expected New Delhi to gain physical control over it one day, raising the rhetoric over the territorial dispute. In response, Pakistan strongly condemned and rejected “the inflammatory and irresponsible remarks made by the Indian External Affairs Minister regarding Pakistan and AJK”, according to a statement by the Foreign Office. The statement also called upon the international community to take note of the “aggressive posturing”. India claims the heavily populated Kashmir Valley while Pakistan has a wedge of territory in the west of the disputed region — Azad Jammu and Kashmir. “Our position on [Azad Kashmir] is, has always been and will always be very clear. [Azad Kashmir] is part of India and we expec

By Dawn
September 18, 2019


Japan officially removed from South Korea’s whitelist

Seoul has threatened the move for weeks. South Korea excluded Japan from its export controls whitelist Wednesday in retaliation for Tokyo’s earlier decision to remove Seoul from its list of favored trade partners, as bilateral relations have slumped to the lowest levels since normalizing diplomatic ties in 1965. “The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy has published the revision of the nation’s trade controls on strategic items in an official gazette and it took effect from Wednesday,” said the ministry spokesperson through a statement. Since the Aug. 12 announcement by Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo that Korea would drop Japan as a preferred trading partner, the ministry has completed the necessary administrative steps, such as soliciting opinions from the public and submitting the revised rules to the Office of Legislation for review. “We have received opinions from the public throu

By The Korea Herald
September 18, 2019


Beijing lauds Solomon Islands’ move to break ties with Taiwan authorities

The United States has condemned the move. China highly commends the decision of the Solomon Islands’ government to recognize the one-China principle and sever the so-called “diplomatic ties” with the Taiwan authorities, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said late on Monday. Hua’s comment came as the Pacific island nation decided earlier on Monday at a cabinet meeting that it would break the so-called “diplomatic ties” with the Taiwan authorities and establish diplomatic relationship with Beijing. Hua said in an online statement that Beijing supports the Solomon Islands’ government in “making such an important decision as a sovereign and independent country”. Beijing has made it clear that there is but one China in the world, that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government that represents the who

By China Daily
September 18, 2019


S.E. Asian manufacturing sees opportunity in U.S.-China row

By Shingo Sugime and Yoichiro Tanaka / Yomiuri Shimbun Correspondents. Southeast Asian countries are intensifying their efforts to attract companies planning to move production bases outside China, as the United States and China have become entrenched in tit-for-tat sanctions and retaliatory tariffs. To attract the needed outside investment, they are offering tax incentives and other benefits. ‘Thailand Plus’ “We see the U.S.-China trade frictions as an opportunity to expand our efforts to attract foreign companies,” Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak told reporters after a Cabinet meeting on Sept. 10. On that day, the Thai government adopted what it calls the “Thailand Plus” package of preferential measures for companies that relocate factories and other facilities from China. A corporate tax deduction of up to 50 p

By The Japan News
September 18, 2019


Pyongyang confirms ready to resume talks, but gives conditions

Foreign minister confuses lawmakers on whether North Korean leader’s letter to Trump was different to one already made public. The long-stalled US-North Korea working level talks on denuclearization could take place soon, a senior North Korea official signaled in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency on Monday that also set out conditions for the resumption of dialogue. The director general of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s department of American affairs said working-level talks will likely take place in a few weeks. He said the two countries may forge closer relations or hostility depend on what Washington brings to the table. But he also set out a number of conditions.

By The Korea Herald
September 17, 2019


President blames China for ‘suppressing Taiwan int’l space’

The Solomon Islands is the latest country to not recognise Taiwan. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) strongly condemned Solomon Islands’ decision to establish diplomatic relations with China in a major statement released on Monday. The president blamed China for using “financial and political pressure to suppress Taiwan’s international space” and called Beijing’s action “a threat,” but also a “brazen challenge and detriment to the international order.” Taiwan’s attitude towards its diplomatic allies has been one of sincere friendship, she said, stressing that Taiwan spares “no effort” and treats allies with “sincerity.” In the face of China’s alleged interference, however, she added that “we will not stand to be threatened, nor will we be subjected to ceaseless demands.” The president also stressed that Taiwan will not engage in “dollar diplomacy” with China

By ANN Members
September 17, 2019