The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times

Malaysian humanitarian mission arrives in Yangon

Aid to be distributed for both communities in Rakhine State

The Nautical Aliya carrying the relief aid arrives at Thilawa International Port on February 9. Photo - AFPThe Nautical Aliya carrying the relief aid arrives at Thilawa International Port on February 9. Photo - AFP

The Malaysian food flotilla for Myanmar humanitarian mission arrived in Thilawa International Port yesterday with a total of 358 tonnes of relief goods intended for both communities in Rakhine state, the Myanmar government said.

Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Minister U Win Myat Aye told reporters the government will distribute the relief goods to the refugees from the Bengali community as well as the Rakhine community.

“The relief goods will be delivered by military ships to Rakhine State and it will take one week. The distribution will be made by the state government›s management. Both communities will receive the relief goods,” said the minister.

The minister also said the humanitarian aid would be of great benefit to the affected people from Rakhine State and the Malaysian government’s donation would enhance and strengthen the understanding and unity among Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries.

“Myanmar is implementing ways to encourage peace and harmony among the communities, to strengthen and protect the human rights of the civilian population and to support more humanitarian assistance in Rakhine State,” said Minister U Win Myat Aye.

Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican said the openness of the Myanmar government in receiving the aid from Malaysia shows the successful delivery of humanitarian missions to the nation.

The minister added that the Malaysian government recognises that the Rakhine State is among those needing assistance, and they should not be skeptical on the genuine efforts by the Myanmar government to allow such aid to pass through.

Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, U Win Myat Aye (L) received the goods from the Malaysian volunteers, while Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Reezal Merican (in suit) waves at the crowd. Photo - AFPMinister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, U Win Myat Aye (L) received the goods from the Malaysian volunteers, while Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Reezal Merican (in suit) waves at the crowd. Photo - AFP

“We believe that the relationship between Myanmar and Malaysia will continue for a long time to come,” said Minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican.

Almost 70 nationalists and monks protested yesterday at the port when the vessel ‘Nautical Aliya’ arrived, claiming that the Malaysian humanitarian aid was a form of political exploitation.

U Win Ko Ko Latt, chair of Myanmar National Network, said yesterday they did not object to international community support but did not want any aid that aim to be used as political exploitation.

“We appreciate the humanitarian aid of Malaysia but we don’t want to use the ‘Rohingya’ word. The Malaysian prime minister used this word before the food flotilla left from Malaysia. We object to it,” he said.

The aid shipment, which left Malaysia on February 3 carrying 2200 tonnes of supplies, had been due to stop at the Yangon port before heading on to Teknaf port in Bangladesh.

However, Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement later that Bangladesh had decided not to allow the ship to dock at Teknaf. No further details on the decision were given.

Sayadaw U Thu Seitta from Yangon said Myanmar people did not agree to international criticisms that the government was oppressing the Bengali minority community in Rakhine state.

“The international community should go to the Rakhine State. The Bengalis are not the minority. Only our Rakhine people are the minority group in the state. The international communities and media should find that out,” he said.