The Muslim Rohingya are recognized as the most oppressed people in the world. Historically, they have settled in the northwestern part of Myanmar for more than 400 years and they were known as good paddy farmers.
They are now the only people that is not recognized as a citizen of any country or state. They also do not have a strong organization to represent their voices and welfare in their own homeland.
Therefore, they are an easy target for oppression. Reports of various international bodies, from the United Nations (UN) to human rights organizations give clear details of the cruelty committed against them.
Malaysians of various racial and religious background have a moral obligation to stop these atrocities, for the following reasons:
i. Malaysia has a good standing in ASEAN and must step forward to assume leadership of the international community’s efforts to stop the crimes against the Rohingya
ii. Malaysia which aspires to be among the top 20 nations in the world (in terms of economic size and trade) must take accountability into what is happening in its backyard. The trade and economic clout comes with a responsibility to ensure Malaysia carries out its moral duty when there is a humanitarian conflict in this region
iii. The Rohingya well-being and basic human rights are the religious responsibility of the Muslim of Malaysia, which out-weighs our responsibility to be at the forefront of efforts to give justice to the Palestinians because we can influence events in Myanmar more than in Israel
iv. The crimes against Rohingya exacerbate the influx of refugees, illegal immigrants and victims of human trafficking which has steadily strained resources of public services in Malaysia
The intensifying humanitarian catastrophe that had created influx of refugees and more Rohingya falling prey to human trafficking syndicates can only be solved politically, when the Government of Myanmar recognizes them as rightful citizens.
When International Campaign for the Rohingya (http://www.rohingyacampaign.org/)‘s Malaysian representative approached me to organize parliamentarian efforts on this, I readily accepted the request.
Apart from me, six other MPs from different parties have agreed to be the Co-Sponsors of this petition, namely Hon. Johari Abdul (Sungai Petani – KEADILAN), Hon. Raja Dato’ Kamarul Bahrin Ahmad (Kuala Terengganu – AMANAH), Hon. Dr Nik Mazian Nik Mohamad (Pasir Putih – PAS), Hon. Khalid Samad (Shah Alam – AMANAH) and Hon. G Manivanan (Kapar – KEADILAN).
The petition is an expression of our (47 MPs from Pakatan Harapan, PAS and Warisan) wishes that PETRONAS withdraws from all the investments in Myanmar until the Government of Myanmar recognizes Rohingya people as legitimate citizens and consequently ceases any crime against them.
PETRONAS has several investments in Myanmar as follows:
1. Only one project is producing i.e. the Yetagun gas field project in the Andaman Sea. The project was initially undertaken by Texaco and Premier Oil, which withdrew from the venture in 1997 and 2002 respectively. PETRONAS farmed into the project successively as the US company withdrew, believed to be due to the US government’s pressure and a global campaign by the shareholders in support for Aung Saan Suu Kyi.
Yetagun gas project is expected to produce for another 12 years (gas sources are expected to run out by 2030) and gas production has already been on a sharp decline, reportedly from 450 mmcfd to 360 mmcfd (refer to http://arakanoilwatch.org/oil- giants-launch-myanmar-exploration/ and http://www.offshore-technology.com/projects/yetagun-gas-and-condensate-field/ for project information).
Gas prices are on the lower side in today’s market conditions and are not directly tied to the increase in crude oil prices due to a long-term natural gas supply agreement which comes with its own formula for determining prices.
2. PETRONAS reportedly won new blocks of M-12, M-13 M-14 and had drilled development wells as of the end of 2015. I have not got any information on new blocks that have recently started to produce oil or gas.
3. The lubricant business whose contribution to PETRONAS’s revenue is much smaller
I have sent a letter to PETRONAS President / CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin to secure a meeting between the delegation of parliamentarians who signed the petition and him to discuss this matter further.
The petition today is the first step. The campaign’s build up will continue so that the international community’s pressure (which begins with campaigns in the United States and in Malaysia) will lead to the recognition of the citizenship rights of the Rohingya.
I include herewith a petition signed by 47 MPs from Pakatan Harapan (the national opposition), PAS and Warisan.
I call upon more members of parliament from all parties to endorse the petition.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR PANDAN
VICE PRESIDENT OF PEOPLE’S JUSTICE PARTY (KEADILAN)