The Minister of Foreign Affairs Malaysia, YB Dato’ Sri Anifah Hj. Aman, met with the High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Malaysia, His Excellency Md. Shahidul Islam, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 3 February 2017. The purpose of the meeting was to seek clarification from the Bangladeshi government on its decision not to allow the “Humanitarian Mission – Food Flotilla for Myanmar” to provide humanitarian aid to the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
The Food Flotilla, organized by Malaysia and flagged off by YAB Prime Minister on 3 February 2017, was originally planned to dock at Yangon and proceed onward to Teknaf, Bangladesh. Teknaf is the port closest to the 65,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh who fled Myanmar since 9 October 2016.
During the meeting, YB Foreign Minister expressed his deep regret over the Bangladeshi Government’s decision, given the excellent bilateral relations between the two countries.
YB Foreign Minister reiterated that Malaysia’s main concern is the plight of the Rohingyas in Myanmar as well as the Rohingya refugees. Malaysia has taken a strong and bold stance to address the dire humanitarian situation of the Rohingya. This has been demonstrated by among others, the recent hosting of the Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on the Situation of the Rohingya Muslim Minority in Myanmar. The Session was held on 19 January 2017 in Kuala Lumpur. The High Commissioner acknowledged YB Foreign Minister’s concern and would revert after getting further clarifications from the Bangladesh Government.
The Food Flotilla aims to provide some 2,200 tonnes of goods for the Rohingyas. This initiative is consistent with the resolution adopted by the Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers which called upon OIC member states to urgently render humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering and hardship of the Rohingyas.
The Government of Malaysia has been in close communication with the Bangladesh Government, through its High Commission in Dhaka as well as the High Commission of Bangladesh in Kuala Lumpur, to enable the Food Flotilla to provide humanitarian aid to the Rohingya refugees around Teknaf port.
3 February 2017