“This is not a humanity issue. This is a national security issue. These people will upset the fabric of our society. Rohingya are not our problem. They cannot simply sail to Malaysian shores thinking we welcome them. We don’t. We don’t want them. Go away. If they die at sea, that is their problem. Nobody asked them to leave home. We will be delusional thinking we can solve their problem. We simply can’t. Get real.”
I read the above comment last night and was dumbstruck.
I pondered and pondered for hours, trying to put myself in the commenter’s mind, figuring out the rationale for such a statement.
There was no way I could rationalise it.
“Rohingya is not our problem.”
So what is our problem?
We previously sent our troops on a peace mission to Somalia – was that our problem?
We sent food and medical aid to Gaza and Syria – was that our problem?
And the humanitarian aid for the Indonesian earthquake and Japan tsunami victims – was that our problem too?
Or was the donation we made for Vietnam’s flood victims and the typhoon victims in Philippines any of our problem?
How did Somalia, Gaza, Syria, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines become our problem but not the Rohingya? How is it that we have the humanitarian capacity to assist these nations but we stop short at the Rohingyas?
The persecution the Rohingya face did not emerge yesterday or the day before. In fact, the Rohingyas have been seeking refuge in Malaysia since the early 80s. Why did it take more than three decades for our government to voice their concerns regarding the violence and ethnic cleansing carried out by the Myanmar government towards this minority?
How many Asean summits have been organised since Myanmar launched Operation Naga Min in 1978 where the Rohingyas were targeted and massacred? With more than 40,000 Rohingya refugees in our country, why didn’t any of our leaders tackle this issue earlier?
We have ample space in our country for more than two million foreign workers (legal with documents) and more are due to join them. Why can’t we train these refugees instead to fill in our quotas for labour?
I’ll tell you why – because the refugees are none of our goddamn problem.
“We don’t want them. Go away. If they die at sea, that is their problem.”
I am honestly, deeply disturbed by this statement.
Funny how we were quick to collect one million signatures to be sent to US government when Anwar Ibrahim was sent to prison the second time. And not forgetting the petition sent to outsiders to interfere and assist us in our struggle to nullify the last election.
How was any of that their problem, huh?
So we can seek help when we need it, but when others do – it’s none of our problem?
But then again, come to think of it, actually it does makes a lot of sense.
Remember filmmaker Beatrice Leong complaining that no one was doing anything when she stopped a Malay man from hitting his wife’s head upon boarding a Malindo flight in Kota Kinabalu airport?
Or the young woman high on drugs taking off her bra in public while no one bothered to stop her, but were busy instead snapping pictures of and video recording her.
I bet no one even asked five-year-old Nurin Jasmin what she was doing roaming alone at a pasar malam the night she was abducted, raped and murdered.
You know why – because it’s not our problem.
How typical of us.
We have been a selfish nation for too long. We share stories on Facebook promoting humanity from around the world, but when it arrives at our doorstep, we look the other way. The truest form of hypocrisy, I’d say.
I don’t know about you, folks, but it really worries me to be a part of today’s “that-is-not-my-problem” society.