February 9, 2017
Hundreds of anti Muslim protesters greeted the Malaysian aid ship as it docked at the Yangon port on Thursday, according to the AFP.
Protesters who were prepared with placards ‘No Rohingya’ were present at the Thilawa port even before the ship managed to reach the destination.
Buddhist nationalists and much of the population in the country allege the Rohingyas are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and have lent wide support to the brutal crackdown led by the Tatmadaw that has killed more than a thousand men, women and children in Maungdaw.
In a break from conventional ASEAN policy, Malaysia has strongly criticised Myanmar’s crackdown and led unprecedented support for the beleaguered Muslim community in Arakan. A network of Malaysian NGOs have sent an aid ship carrying tonnes of aid supplies meant for the Rohingyas, an initiative strongly supported by Malaysian PM Najib Razzaq.
The Nautical Aliya set off from Malaysia last week carrying 2,200 tonnes of rice, medical aid and clothing along with hundreds of health workers and activists. Myanmar has refused permission for the ship to dock in Akyab but after initial hesitation has allowed the use of Yangon.
Rohingya activists have said while aid unloaded in Yangon has little likelihood of reaching the restive Maungdaw township, the symbolic gesture of Malaysia is a great support for the minority community which has remained isolated for a long time.