Muslim–majority Malaysia has been increasingly critical of Myanmar’s handling of violence in northern Rakhine state that has sent hundreds of people fleeing across the border to Bangladesh.
Malaysia called violence against the Muslim minority Rohingya of Myanmar “ethnic cleansing” on Saturday before a planned solidarity march in Kuala Lumpur is headed by Prime Minister Najib Razak.
The statement was issued Friday after Myanmar said that Malaysia should respect sovereign affairs and follow the policy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) not to interfere in business Other member countries.
“The fact that one particular ethnic group is driven out is by definition ethnic cleansing,” the Malaysian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“This practice must cease and must be stopped immediately in order to bring security and stability to the region of South-East Asia.”
The Muslim majority Malaysia is increasingly critical of how Myanmar is dealing with violence in northern Rakhine State, which has sent hundreds of people fleeing the border into Bangladesh amid allegations of ” Abuses committed by the security forces.
Violence is the worst blood shed in Rakhine since the communal clashes in 2012 that have killed hundreds.
Persecution and poverty have led thousands of Rohingya to flee Myanmar as a result of violence between Buddhists and Muslims four years ago. Many of them have been smuggled or trafficked into Thailand, Malaysia and beyond.
The Rohingya question posed a threat to the security of Malaysia, the Foreign Ministry of Malaysia said, adding that the high number of Rohingya in Malaysia and other neighboring countries made it an “international affair”.
Myanmar Deputy Director General U Zaw Htay told the Myanmar Times on Friday that Malaysia should respect sovereign affairs.
Malaysia convened the Myanmar ambassador last week on the crackdown on Rohingya. He also canceled the under-22 friendly matches of the national football team with Myanmar in protest. Senior government officials, led by Najib, are expected to participate in the solidarity march on Sunday.