Malaysia’s Dilemma in The Rohingya Issue

download print

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 3668 |

Page: 1|

19 min read

Published: Jan 29, 2019

Words: 3668|Page: 1|19 min read

Published: Jan 29, 2019

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Who is Rohingya?
  3. The situation in Myanmar
  4. Fleeing Myanmar: the boat Journey to Malaysia
  5. Impact on Malaysia
  6. Politics
    Tackling CIVID-19 Pandemic Crisis
  7. Malaysia's solution in tackling the Rohingya crisis
  8. Conclusion


Malaysia's strategic geographical position and economic position strong and fast growing makes Malaysia a destination for human trafficking and smuggling of migrants ideal. On this factor, many foreign are migrated to Malaysia in search of a halal livelihood and a better life. Some of them chose to enter Malaysia legally through gazetted doors but some also choose to pawn one's life by going through the rat's path i.e., the entrance which not gazetted either by road through the border Malaysia-Thailand, Sabah and Sarawak border with Kalimantan or by boat for example from Indonesia through the Straits of Malacca by using either syndicate or privately which is usually made through a syndicate. The largest population of smugglers entering Malaysia is from the Rohingya ethnic group. The Rohingya fled to seek refuge and a better life due to the Myanmar Government's internal crisis which was deemed inhumane and injustices towards them.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

In this era of globalization, various humanitarian issues have arisen like mushrooms growing after rain around us. In fact, the Southeast Asian region itself is no exception as it is also haunted by the issue of the massacre of these Rohingya ethnic minority which has escalated lately. This ethnic issue should be given attention as it has become an international issue. The issue in the Rohingya has become very serious as it involves clashes between the two religions, and ethnic genocide.

Rohingya crisis unresolved until now, has deliberately delayed its resolution efforts, perhaps because it has involved Muslims who have been entitled to their homeland since they were born into this world for centuries. There is no denying that they are indigenous people such as the Bamar, Chin, Kachin, Kayah, Mon, Arakanese, Shan and various other ethnic groups from non - Muslim circles.

However, the illegal and unsupported arrival of the Rohingya give many effect and dilemmas on Malaysia including in political, economic, national security and the health of Malaysians, especially in relation to the global pandemic of Covid-19 outbreak.

Who is Rohingya?

Myanmar is situated in South East Asia which is near to some other neighbourhood country such as Thailand, Bangladesh, and India. It\'s also acknowledged as Burma previously according to the history. There are numbers of ethnic groups in this country, one of them is Rohingya which is a Muslims but the most important religion in Myanmar is Buddhism. Ever since 1848, Myanmar attained independence. The nation was ruling by the army from 1962 until 2011 and subsequently was taken over by new government in a return to democratic government until present ruling for nearly a decade. On June 18, 1989, the Constitutional Council of the ruling army of Myanmar had changed the country's name from Burma to Myanmar. Basically, these two words refer exactly to the same thing however Myanmar is the more official version compared to Burma. Controversially at the beginning there are some nations refused to use the name for a way of opposing the regime's legitimacy. On the other hand, the use of termed “Myanmar” has become more prevalent over the moment, also in 2016 Ms. Suu Kyi who is a present State Counsellor of Myanmar explained that the name was used wasn't the issue as both titles resemble the identical nation. Historically, The Rohingya are said to have existed in the early 7th century were the first populations of Rakhine State (formerly called Arakan) in Myanmar, the location where migration of laborers from Arab, India and Bangladesh traders settle. Hence, the Rohingya are also from Persian, Arabian and Pashtun descent. The word Rohingya itself comes from the Arabic word Rahma which means” mercy”. Because of this, also this kind of migration was expressed as an inner migration since Burma was administered by British as a Province of India as stated by Human Rights Watch (HRW). Therefore, they have exactly the identical physical, cultural and linguistic types as South Asians, particularly Bengalis. Moreover, languages that they speak are Burmese and Rohingya. Throughout 2012 that the Rohingya population reached nearly 800,000 living in Western Myanmar.

The situation in Myanmar

Unfortunately, despite of historically the Rohingya being the first populations of Arakan, West Myanmar, however the Myanmar government did deny that the Rohingya status as a Myanmar citizen and refused to deal with and acknowledge Rohingya as people. This is explained why Myanmar Government remove and recklessly killing Rohingya without mercy due to religious differences since 2014. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that Rohingya is among, if not the discriminated people on the planet and Rohingya are among Myanmar\'s many cultural minorities. In point of truth, since 1970s that the Rohingya ethic was started to migrate as an undesirable refugee all over the area countries in attempt to escape from being medicated brutality from the militants. However, what happened in last few years that the thousands of Rohingya refugee were fled from Myanmar and migrants to neighbourhood country particularly Muslim nation including our nation Malaysia. In Bangladesh there are over 700,000 refugees out of Rohingya had entered in order to escape what the United Nations has called genocidal violence that follows decades of persecution and human rights abuses.

Fleeing Myanmar: the boat Journey to Malaysia

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), Rohingya was rape, violence and rioting from the authorities of Myanmar. Thus, because of the dire condition, they've been migrating to other neighbouring countries to find a save location and better life with their families. Rohingya began to put in Malaysia on 2016, where the smugglers were escape from Thailand to Malaysia by boats as the Thailand levied the laws involving the illegal smuggling syndicate. Additional to these motives, Rohingya elects to fleet to Malaysia because of religious factors. As Muslims, they think Malaysia government and Malaysians are more sympathetic and caring. Supporting the Rohingyas is a long-standing element of Malaysia\'s international Muslim solidarity agenda in Malaysia’s foreign policy.

Initially, in 2016 the Prime Minister of Malaysian upon that interval of Governance had defended the refugee of Rohingya as representative of Malaysian for a way of protesting towards the response and actions of the ASEAN convention of non-interference in member states\' internal affairs and condemned the ruler of Myanmar for being non humanity and insult Islam. According to article that published by The Diplomat, Prime Minister Najib Razak exclaimed he won\'t close his eyes and shut his mouth and said that Malaysia must defend the Rohingyas not simply because they are of the exact same religion, but they are humans, their lives have worth. For the Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar, Malaysia appeared to be the flag-bearer of hope. The gain in the sum of Rohingya refugees registered Persons of Concern (POC) with the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) in Malaysia shows that the battle is getting worse, burdening and threatening the stability of this country. There is also a significant number of Rohingya currently in Malaysia undocumented. Since the numbers of Rohingya refugee continue increasing over the years in Malaysia, their present actually threatened this country in many perspectives including social, national security as well as economies. With national resources stretched thin with all the continuing coronavirus pandemic and financial crisis, xenophobia is also on the rise. During 36th ASEAN Summit at 2020, current Prime Minister of Malaysia Muhyiddin Yassin declared that Malaysia can no longer accept Rohingya refugees out of Myanmar. Currently, Malaysia hosts the largest number of Rohingya refugees in ASEAN and the fourth highest number worldwide. Apart from the views of this government, the views of the Malaysian men and women should also be at the forefront in this respect since it relates to the well -being and peace of the people and the country and futures of the next generation.

The numbers of Rohingya refugee increasingly coming to Malaysia had triggered Malaysian view divided into various. One group-maintained government must allow these refugees be provided with necessities such as food, drink and supplies of medication. However, another group strongly protested and indicated that the government must ship the Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar. That is because Malaysia incapable to handle outsiders, especially Malaysia was in catastrophe to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic crisis that keep rising. Phil Robertson, Asia's deputy director stated that Malaysia\'s demands to support the rights of the Rohingya are shocking as they push desperate refugees back to sea. Malaysia Navy was firmly detained 2 boats with estimated 200 Rohingya refugees off the coast of Malaysian waters and prevented the ship from entering Malaysian waters regardless of what would happen to the refugees.

Impact on Malaysia


Unfortunately, these matters of violence and genocide happened the Myanmar not only impact on them owns country however has also given a big blow on Malaysia's economic, social, education and politics. The first effect that occurs involving the political system in Malaysia is that the Malaysian government\'s relationship with ASEAN countries will become stronger and closer. This is because during the issue of violence and the elimination of the Rohingya ethnic group in Myanmar, the Malaysian government will regularly participate in conferences between ASEAN countries to discuss all proposals to address and stop the issue from continuing to occur. This is to protect the Rohingya, defend the humanitarian stance taken for granted by Myanmar and prevent it from continuing to have a detrimental effect on neighbouring countries that accept the arrival of such refugees. The second effect is that the political system and laws imposed on foreigners will change. This is because in Malaysia there has been an influx of Rohingya ethnic refugees in addition to the influx of foreign immigrants from other countries such as Indonesia, Bangladesh and others. The Rohingya community considers Malaysia to be a safe location for them to seek refuge, shelter, food sources and security to continue living. These refugees will use the UNCHR refugee card for them to live in Malaysia. With this UNCHR refugee card they are allowed to work in the country and the employers have taken this opportunity to take them because the cost of paying salaries for foreigners is cheaper than locals. However, there are also reports from the media saying that most Rohingya refugees in Malaysia are more likely to be beggars on the streets than working in the labour sector. Besides, through this issue, there will also be a bad relationship between the two religions, which are Islam and Buddhism. This will affect the political system in Malaysia because the population in Malaysia is predominantly Muslim and followed by Buddhism. The atrocities of Buddhists in Myanmar are likely to give a negative impression to Muslims in Malaysia. It is not impossible if the fights and disputes between the Malays and the Chinese people caused due religious differences.


Apart from that, because some Rohingya refugees do not have legal documents, some of them are trafficked and involved in criminal activities. What is even more troubling is that they are involved in drug trafficking, robbery, aggression, and gangster activities. It is extremely disturbing problem because it can threaten the safety of Malaysians. Malaysia's image has been tarnished due to the irresponsible actions of certain parties in human trafficking. The presence of illegal immigrants should be blocked in any way, in collaboration with the police, immigration and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency. Human trafficking must be stopped immediately through comprehensive and effective strategies and approaches.

Based on the UNTOC protocol, ‘the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air and the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition’, Malaysia is experiencing a critical dilemma when Malaysia has been identified as a transit country in human trafficking crimes involving Rohingya refugees. This is because Malaysia's geographical factors are exposed and open thus providing an opportunity for smugglers to bring in Rohingya refugees to Malaysia. For the record from 2015 to 2018, a total of 558 cases of human trafficking were investigated by the PDRM and 70 percent of these cases were reported to involve Rohingya trafficking. The country was once hit by the discovery of a large grave of Rohingya refugees in the Wang Kelian Perlis jungle which was first reported by the Malay Mail on 27 May 2015. Not only that, revenge criminal activities are among the criminal acts often committed by this ethnicity. Although there are no official statistics on the number of crimes committed by Rohingya refugees in the country, in terms of threats to national security, there is no specific data on the criminal record made by the Rohingya ethnic group. Crimes committed by foreign nationals according to country of origin and not according to ethnicity.

Tackling CIVID-19 Pandemic Crisis

On 25th January 2021, one year had passed Malaysia was hit by typhoon Covid-19. THE Covid-19 pandemic impacts Malaysia in many ways. But the country's biggest was the Rohingya crisis. The xenophobia can be observed by understanding key issues during the peak of the pandemic. The folks of the Ministry of Health (MOH) remained committed and worked without grief in fighting the deadly pandemic. Since the initial wave of COVID-19 again National boundaries have been closely controlled by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Ever since that time, Malaysians coming from overseas are also needed to undergo quarantine at several quarantine centres which have been set up throughout the nation to date.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 from getting worse, MCO has tightened its enforcement in areas identified as large risk. Fantastic collaboration was given by Malaysians into the government and the authorities to decrease the rate of infection. According to a statement issued by Astro Awani at a press statement on 23 April 2020, the Director General of Health Malaysia, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had repeatedly mentioned during his everyday press conference that the government must close the border gates to halt the spread of COVID-19 from out to the nation. This statement clearly states that the authorities must also close all rat lanes that allow foreigners from overseas to smuggle into Malaysia, such as Rohingya migrants, to curtail the spread of COVID-19. On March 2020 Malaysia was shocked by the illegal existence of Rohingya refugees in Malaysian waters in Langkawi.

Initially, daily news of increasing death and infection rates heightened insecurity, particularly due to the prevalence of cases from abroad. Anxiety increased due to more over than 1,000 ‘positive\' cases from the mass gathering in the Seri Petaling district, which had links to the Selayang wholesale market where the Rohingya community is known to work. That place was declared an “extension” of the largest reported cluster developed from the mass gathering two months back, which 2,000 Rohingya community members attended. This was a real dilemma that plagued Malaysia in Rohingya issues. They were difficult to track and the refusal to cooperate with the authorities suggested that they did not have proper documentation and those Rohingya refugees holding the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) card are available in this community.

Apart from that, the leader of the unregistered Rohingya community who demanded the right to claim in the outbreak, which eventually became the starting point netizen complaints. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Limited medical equipment in the nation led to controversy regarding the treatment of illegal immigrants and citizens. The government distributes hundreds of millions of ringgits to many hospitals, but this isn't enough. Priority has to be made. This will explain why Xenophobia could be seen by understanding the crucial issues during the peak of the epidemic. The Rohingya migrants who visit Malaysia in those dilapidated boats may only have COVID-19 but different other kinds of dangerous and infectious diseases. This may have a harmful influence on the nation and its citizens. Malaysia has completed its part in providing protection to existing Rohingya asylum seekers over time. However, the problem has now changed. It\'s time for the authorities to become firm. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Although Malaysia is not a member of the 1951 Refugee Convention, Malaysia has been a very generous country in promoting peace internationally. Malaysia often accepts Rohingya migrants who have been oppressed and denied their citizenship by the Myanmar government for years. At a time when the world is turning away, Malaysia has taken responsibility to provide protection to these Rohingya asylum seekers. However, the situation has changed now. As mentioned by the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Malaysia is currently at war with an invisible army. All kinds of Business and trade have come to a halt as a result of the first PKP being carried out and the economy has been severely affected by this COVID-19 outbreak. In facing this uncertainty both domestically and globally, Malaysia needs to put its priorities in the right place by prioritizing its people over others. No matter how critical our county situation is, try to find a way out like a clutch at a straw.

Malaysia's solution in tackling the Rohingya crisis

There are several solutions that Malaysia has done in dealing with the Rohingya crisis. First, Malaysia submits a proposal to ASEAN on the establishment of an independent expert group or a group of leading figures to determine the extent of the crisis in Rakhine State (Arakan) with the aim of helping ASEAN formulate a long -term and lasting solution to the situation in Rakhine State and restore confidence in refugees. Rohingya to return to their place of origin. However, Myanmar threatened not to attend the 2015 ASEAN. Summit chaired by Thailand. But in the end, it came up by only sending a delegation with an affirmation, not recognizing the 1 million Rohingya ethnics who are on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border and assuming they are part of the Bangladeshi people.

Aside from that, Malaysia required promise of Aung San Suu Kyi to address the real causes which affect the local population Rohingya, specifically the granting of citizenship and status, and supply assistance to residents who lost their houses since 2012, in relieving tensions and encouraging realistic options and lasting. However, the expert - Aung San Suu Kyi party asserted that Suu Kyi did not have wide access to the nation's defence entities rather he said that the Rohingya crisis was no more defensible. Suu Kyi's attitude clearly shows she gave up in addressing this crisis, and she was even criticized by Malaysia at the ASEAN Summit in 2018 at Singapore.

In fact, Malaysia also demanded that access to humanitarian missions be permitted by the Myanmar Junta Government to enable the aid mission provided by Malaysia is a contribution of RM10 million for humanitarian efforts and social rehabilitation projects in Rakhine, along with 'Food Flotilla for Myanmar' humanitarian mission in February 2017. Myanmar's reaction to this solution is to simply stop attacks on the Rohingya population for 4 months.


In conclusion, the Rohingya community is one of the ethnic groups that have fallen victim to the oppression and mass ethnic cleansing in their own country. This is because the Buddhist community in Myanmar considers that the Rohingya ethnicity is an existing ethnicity and will pose a great threat to the rest of the Myanmar population. But in reality the Rohingya community is not a threat to other Myanmar people as expected but they are just a nation that wants to find a suitable place for them to get shelter and protection as well as their basic rights in their daily lives. The issue of oppression is getting more and more protracted because the Buddhists in Myanmar themselves do not accept the Muslims there. If this issue is not resolved immediately, it is not impossible that the Rohingya ethnic group will disappear from the face of the earth and it will also threaten the position of Muslims around the world. Angela Merkel once said that there is one red line that people should not cross. It is a commitment to human rights, the respect of the dignity of the human being. There should be no compromises.

Malaysia as a country that is stable in terms of politics and economic development, is the dream of migrants to migrate to this country coupled with the high humanitarian values ​​shown by Malaysians add to the perception that Malaysia is a rich country and able to provide a better life to refugees. But on the other hand, Malaysia is also burdened with various internal issues while the challenges of facing the COVID-19 pandemic crisis give significance that Malaysia is actually 'big-hearted' but there are constraints that must be overcome and borne on the shoulders of the country's leaders to end this dilemma. Edward Abbey once said that a patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.

Malaysia has in fact played a role as a member of ASEAN and the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights in urging various parties to be aggressive in finding long-term solutions to Rohingya refugees so as not to burden other countries, especially Malaysia which already accommodates nearly 200,000 Rohingya refugees. In this case, Malaysia needs to prioritize the safety and well -being of Malaysians first. all criminal cases related to the Rohingya must be tackled, political issues and the economy affected should he recover, and stern action should be taken in tackling pandemic crisis COVID-19 pandemic crisis when it was hit by the fourth wave. If no action is taken, until then Malaysia will be in a dilemma in this Rohingya issue.

Yet organizations in the world such as ASEAN, the OIC and the UN have not played their part in curbing the issue of terrorism and ethnic cleansing that has taken place in Myanmar since time immemorial. If this issue is not resolved then as long as that is the ASEAN countries will continue to be plagued by long-term problems of an ongoing nature through the entered of refugees from Myanmar. this will further cloud all the impacts that have hit Malaysia due to the entering of Rohingya.

Get a custom paper now from our expert writers.

On the whole, all parties around the world need to be concerned about the plight of the Rohingya community in Myanmar. Therefore, various initiatives need to be taken to address all issues of terrorism and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar itself.

Image of Dr. Oliver Johnson
This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Oliver Johnson

Cite this Essay

The rohingya problem. (2022, December 04). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 18, 2024, from
“The rohingya problem.” GradesFixer, 04 Dec. 2022,
The rohingya problem. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 18 Jul. 2024].
The rohingya problem [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Dec 04 [cited 2024 Jul 18]. Available from:
Keep in mind: This sample was shared by another student.
  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours
Write my essay

Still can’t find what you need?

Browse our vast selection of original essay samples, each expertly formatted and styled


Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!


    Get Your
    Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!
    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now