THE atrocities committed by the Myanmar authorities on the Rohingya in Rakhine and other parts of Myanmar are well known to the international community. Despite exhortations from Asean, world leaders and Nobel Laureates, there seems to be no redress or reduction to the conflict. (FILE PIC)

THE atrocities committed by the Myanmar authorities on the Rohingya in Rakhine and other parts of Myanmar are well known to the international community.

Despite exhortations from Asean, world leaders and Nobel Laureates, there seems to be no redress or reduction to the conflict.

Malaysian non-governmental organisations and professional groups like the Muslim Professionals Forum have lucidly highlighted the situation and also reiterated possible measures to contain, if not solve, the problem.

These ideas seek to call on Asean and global organisations like the United Nations to pressure the Myanmar government to immediately and positively address the issue.

The Rohingya, pushed to a corner and deprived of basic necessities, have tried to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh and to nearby Asean countries by sea but even these attempts are fraught with risks, forcing them to retaliate in a futile way, only for the Myanmar authorities to increase their atrocities. Therefore, urgent, specific and concrete measures are needed to alleviate this tragedy.

It is with great admiration that I read Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offering to pay for the costs borne by Bangladesh in accepting and hosting Rohingya refugees temporarily until a more lasting solution is found.

I hope other rich countries can be magnanimous. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) should actively get more support for such measures.

Granted, there may be bad elements in the exodus, and UNHCR should vigorously help host governments filter and channel the refugees to manpower-deficient countries. Malaysia, for instance, has a large pool of legal and illegal workers.

Accepting the refugees to work legally in sectors with labour shortage like in plantations, construction and the service sector, should be a priority.

Workers from Myanmar, including the Rohingya, are visible in the Malaysian labour force, but there is room for them, especially after the repatriation of illegal foreign workers.

Rohingya women should be prepared to work as domestic helpers as the demand for maids is high. In due time, it is hoped that other Asean countries and also other countries in the Arabian Gulf Cooperation Region may emulate the Malaysian model, which we hope will be fruitful and be recorded by history as the management of one of the worst humanitarian crises of the century.

Since the Myanmar government is not yielding to world pressure, it is time the world community imposes economic sanctions on Myanmar.

A.S.M. SHARIFF

Petaling Jaya

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