Land of Vile

Malaysian authorities dig up mass graves along the Malaysian-Thai border, and the cartoon published by Nation News of Thailand (pic by Siakapkeli.my)
Malaysian authorities dig up mass graves along the Malaysian-Thai border near Wang Kelian, and the cartoon published by Nation News of Thailand (pic by Siakapkeli.my)

The Nation recently ran a cartoon that made fun of Malaysia in light of the recent discoveries of human-trafficking camps with mass graves of Rohingyas.  The cartoon was picked up by an AFP correspondent based in Malaysia, Parameswaran Ponnudurai., and was subsequently highlighted by The Malaysian Chronicle. It is all well and good for Thailand that the remains of the Rohingyas as well as the camps are mostly found on this side of the border, not that they do not have any, mind you. The Thais should also remember that while Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to take in 7,000 of these refugees, Thais have adamantly refused to take in any.

So, shame on Thailand for closing an eye on the problems across its western border?  Wait for it.  There is another thing they ought to be ashamed of. In interviews carried by BERNAMA, the luckier Rohingyas spoke about the guards who tortured, raped and killed the rest.

Read from the link and see who they were and if there anything sinister about the Land of Smiles!

The Plight Of The Rohingyas: A Test Of Moral Conscience

As thousands of Rohingyas turn up in the waters off Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, thousands more die in the high seas never to find the refuge they sought. Myanmar meanwhile continues to turn a blind eye on the issue. These boat people are no longer in Myanmar waters, therefore they are no longer Myanmar’s problem. Hundreds have been slaughtered by unscrupulous human traffickers in “camps” in areas in Southern Thailand. Even the highly-celebrated champion of democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, has admitted that she is a politician and “not a moral organisation or anything like that.” Disgusting is the only way I could describe her reaction, for a lack of better word.

I do not envy the position of the Malaysian government. Myanmar is part of the ASEAN brethren. Thousands of Rohingyas have already sought refuge in Malaysia in the past, and Malaysia has always been the country preferred by boat people to land at.  After the fall of Saigon in April 1975, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees appeared on the shores of Malaysia.  Those in their 50s might remember the plight of thousands of refugees on board the MV Hai Hong and how Bidong island, off Terengganu’s idyllic village of Merang, housed thousands of Vietnamese. Very few countries agreed to accept some of these refugees. Thousands more were stranded in Sungai Besi, forgotten if not by all, and became a problem for Malaysia up until the early 1990s.

Finally, Prime Minister Najib Razak came out with a statement of concern on his blog. And I wondered how would Malaysia start with helping these refugees, I found this on an acquaintance’s Twitter post:

  
May God bless Malaysia and continue to guide the leadership to continue to make the correct decisions.

Meanwhile, all other ASEAN nations should take a hardline stand on Myanmar and compel its government to put a stop to the persecution of the Rohingyas. This is to be a test on ASEAN’s members’ moral conscience, jointly and severally.

Stop The Killing

“Killing, whether it is one man, or one million men, is a crime.”

The world we live in is said to be a civilised one. In the old days, uncivilised people resolve conflicts by killing each other. Nowadays, civilised nations impose their will on other nations, especially when they do not like who is leading these nations. And this is accepted by the world as the civilised way to resolve conflicts; ironically this does not differ from the ways of our uncivilised ancestors.

This message was conveyed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the launching of the 14th Mahathir Global Peace School and Public Lectures at the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations in Kuala Lumpur. The MGPS14 consists of several programmes and lectures aimed at discussing the criminalisation of war.

He added that it took 20 years for a politician to convince the lawmakers of his nation to accept that slave trading is illegal, therefore it is not impossible to get the general public as well as nations to agree to criminalise war.

Conflicts should be resolved through discussions, tribunals, and courts of law. It would be better for nations to resolve conflicts by sitting down together as civilised people should. Of course, the outcome of some decisions of the courts of law may turn out differently as the international court is not independent of the most powerful nations who call the shots.

The vote of one country out of five holders of the veto power holds the whole world at ransom, determining the fate of this world. This is what the civilised nations call “democracy.” We can never have peace in this world when the fate of the majority lies in the hands of these five nations.

Tun Dr Mahathir added that the world can only be civilised if all politicians are also elected because they object to war. Children must also be educated on the efforts to criminalise war.

The launching of the MGPS14 was also attended by Dr M Jusuf Kalla, the former Vice-President of the Republic of Indonesia who delivered a lecture on peace and diplomacy.

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In his lecture, Dr Jusuf Kalla said that the two World Wars were very costly. In the old days, in order to have peace one must be prepared for war. However, security can now be better achieved by maintaining good relationship between countries.

Dr Jusuf Kalla said about half a century ago Indonesia and Malaysia faced the same scenario. However, behind-the-scene diplomacy prevailed and stopped the Confrontation from escalating further. During the Ambalat stand-off, Dr Jusuf Kalla called upon Datuk Seri Najib to help diffuse the situation by mutually agreeing to order the respective naval units to end the standoff and return to base. This is due to not just the good relations between the two nations, but also the good personal relations between the leaders of the two nations.

“Weapons will have less meaning if the relationship is good,” he added. “A good relationship will never bring about wars. Diplomacy and good relationship will bring about many benefits. Malaysia has helped Indonesia tremendously as one of the major foreign investors there.”

Economic equality and non-exploitation of other nations should be the fundamentals to be exercised in order to achieve inter-nation peace.

When there are too many weapons available, peace is not easily achievable. Malaysia has been helping out in government between the factions and the government but the availability of weapons have hindered the southern Philippines from achieving true peace. The absence of a recognised leader in South Thailand coupled with the availability of weapons have caused many negotiations there to fail. The Southern Thais do not identify themselves as Thais, whereas the government of Thailand treat them as Thai nationals. The exact opposite happens in Myanmar where the Rohingyas say they are Myanmarese but the Myanmar government would rather identify them as Bangladesi-descendants. Without a common understanding, peace can never be achieved in these three regions. Therefore, weapons will always remain as the definition of security.

The MGPS14 will see a series of visits and public lectures starting on the 17th February 2014 and ends on the 1st March 2014. Among the invited lecturers include Dr Chandra Muzaffar (President of International Movement for a JUST World), Prof Johan Galtung (Professor of Peace Studies), Prof Dr M Din Syamsuddin (Chairman of Muhammadiyah) and Prof Ahmad Syafii Maarif (former Chairman of Muhammadiyah).