Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia Tamil Sangam President M. Manogaran has described former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s tirade against the Myanmar Government over the Rohingya issue as a sham when he was instrumental in keeping the country in Asean.
For starters, he pointed out that the Rohingya issue in Myanmar had nothing to do with Indians and Chinese in the peninsula.
“Why compare the Rohingya to Indians and Chinese in Malaysia when the two are completely different issues?” asked Manogaran. “Citizenship in the peninsula came with independence following the British withdrawal.”
It was ironic that Mahathir now condemns the Myanmar on the persecution of the Rohingya, said Manogaran who was a former MP. “The Rohingya in Myanmar have been persecuted for so many years even during Mahathir’s time as Prime Minister.”
He was commenting on Mahathir complaining, among others, that Myanmar Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi did not respond to his letter to her on the Rohingya.
“Why should she respond when in 1987, when the military junta was oppressing her by incarcerating her, Malaysia under Mahathir actually supported the Junta?” asked Manogaran.
It was during Mahathir’s premiership that Myanmar got formal acceptance as a member state of Asean, he added. “In 1987, many organisations and individuals were against Myanmar being admitted into Asean.”
“Mahathir pushed for it saying we should engage with Myanmar and thereby persuade the country to return to democracy. Malaysia engaged with Myanmar for a very long time .”
Democracy was dead in Myanmar and the military junta was running the country like a bunch of cowboys, he continued, and yet Mahathir recognised the regime. “Malaysia’s foreign policy on Myanmar was a failure because we supported a regime which was not democratically elected.”