Rohingya Society In Malaysia
Rohingya Society in Malaysia (RSM) was formed in 2010 to advocate the needs of Rohingya refugees and Rohingya asylum seekers in Malaysia.
It was emerged after discussion among the leaders of community based organizations, students and respected individuals living in Malaysia. Our overall objective is Rohingya nation building as they been deprived all basic human rights in their home country Burma.
The discrimination imposed against Rohingyas are judicial killing, arbitrary arrest and extortion, confiscation of properties, raping of women, forced labor, restriction on movements, restriction on marriage, restriction on education, restriction on religious activities, burning houses and shops, killing by arson attack and denial of citizenship.
Through above mentioned heinous policies, the Rohingyas are made educationally backward, economically crippled; socially and culturally remain far lack behind. Their economic bases are completely destroyed. Agriculture is the main source of their economy.
Thousands of acres of Rohingya’s farm lands are confiscated for military establishment and new Buddhist settlements. Apparently, the Burmese regime makes the Rohingyas extremely poor. So, Rohingyas in Arakan become traumatise and struggling day and nights just to stuff their hungry stomach.
For these reasons, Rohingyas have to abandon their homeland and to take a very- risky-ocean journey merely by boats to the unwelcome destinations. Unfortunately, they were treated as illegal immigrants in the said host countries expect Pakistan.
Since 1990, Rohingya migrated to Malaysia in order to seek protection. Malaysia has neither ratified the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention nor the 1967 New York Protocol.
Therefore, under the Malaysian Immigration Act 1959/63 (Act 155), refugees and asylum seekers are designated as “illegal migrants” and may be subject to arrest, detention, punishment (including whipping), and deportation.
Life for refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia is inconvenient and difficult. They are unable to work legally in Malaysia. The refugee children are not allowed to study. For asylum seekers to seek medical treatment in government hospital is rather impossible and private clinic is too expensive.
Therefore, our organization focuses on the following areas.
Activities of RSM
1. Primary education for Rohingya children
Refugee children have access to limited education in Malaysia through education projects run by UNHCR, NGOs, and INGOs. Since 2005, the schools were opened by UNHCR with the cooperation of Tzu Chi (a Buddhist NGO from Taiwan). The schools are not sufficient for refugee children.
Therefore, RSM has opened a school since 2008 for our Rohingya children. The curriculums of the school are: Al-Quran, Mathematics, English, Science, and Bahasa Malaysia with very limited resources. The condition of the school is under resource-scarce conditions.
2. Health care for Rohingya Refugees
Rohingya refugees have been facing a lot of problems to get other basic services such as health care and legal services.
In principle, government hospitals in Malaysia are open and available to refugees and asylum seekers, but evidence shows that refugees and asylum seekers experience substantial barriers accessing health care in Malaysia such as the cost of treatment, fear of arrest, and language barriers.
For above mentioned reasons, United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) works closely with partner organizations who implement health programs. ACTS clinic is one of them. Our organization works with ACTS clinic.
Our Deputy President, Abdul Ghani Bin Abdul Rahman is health coordinator for ACTS. He received training as well. Every month we have to take care of at least 4-6 patients.
3. Issuing protection letters and other social welfare activities
- Issued recommendation letters to asylum seekers as mean of protection
- Regularly, organize interview secessions at RSM office for human rights activists, journalists, reporters, and NGOs with asylum seekers and refugees in order to highlight the human rights violation in Arakan
- Distributing alms to needy families during month of Ramadhan, RSM organize with the collaboration of NGOs to distribute alms to poor families.