Erdogan accuses Myanmar of ‘Buddhist terror’ against Rohingya

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of the Republic of Turkey. (AFP)
Updated 25 September 2017
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Erdogan accuses Myanmar of ‘Buddhist terror’ against Rohingya

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the security forces in Myanmar of waging a “Buddhist terror” against the Rohingya Muslim minority in the country, hundreds of thousands of whom have fled to Bangladesh.
Erdogan, who has repeatedly highlighted the plight of the Rohingya, again accused the Yangon government of carrying out a “genocide” against the people in Rakhine state.
In a speech in Istanbul, Erdogan lamented the failure of the international community to lay sanctions against the Myanmar government over its campaign.
“There is a very clear genocide over there,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan, who has held talks by phone with Myanmar’s key leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung Sang Suu Kyi, added: “Buddhists always get represented as envoys of goodwill. At the moment, there is a clear Buddhist terror in Myanmar... I don’t know how you can gloss over this with yoga, schmoga. This is a fact here. And all humanity needs to know this.”
Erdogan takes a sharp interest in the fate of Muslim communities across the world and notably sees himself as a champion of the Palestinian cause.
Returning for a key personal theme, he lambasted the international community for being quick to denounce “Islamic terror” but not “Christian terror,” “Jewish terror” or “Buddhist terror.”
Erdogan’s remarks came as UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said Bangladesh must not force Rohingya Muslims who have fled Myanmar to move to camps on a desolate island.
Authorities have stepped up moves to house the Rohingya on the island in the Bay of Bengal since a new surge which now totals 436,000 refugees started arriving on Aug. 25.
Grandi said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had mentioned the relocation plan when they met in July. There were already 300,000 Rohingya in camps near the border at Cox’s Bazar before the latest influx started.
But he insisted that any move from the camps to Bhashan Char island — also known as Thengar Char — “has to be voluntary on the part of the refugees.”
“We cannot force people to go to the place. So the option for the medium term, let’s say — I don’t want to talk about long-term — has to be also something that is acceptable to the people that go there,” he said.
“Otherwise it won’t work. Otherwise people won’t go.”
The UN has praised Bangladesh for taking in the Rohingya, who fled a military crackdown in Myanmar. It has appealed for international help for the authorities.
“It is good to think ahead. These people (Rohingya) may not be able to go back very quickly and especially now the population has now doubled,” Grandi told a Dhaka press briefing.
The UNHCR chief said his agency was ready to help the island plan with a “technical study of the options.
“That’s all that we are ready to give. We are not giving it yet because I have not seen any concrete options on any paper.”
The small island in the estuary of the Meghna river is a one-hour boat ride from Sandwip, the nearest inhabited island, and two hours from Hatiya, one of Bangladesh’s largest islands.
The government has tasked the navy with making it ready for the Rohingya. Two helipads and a small road have been built.
The authorities first proposed settling the Rohingya there in 2015, as the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar became overstretched.
But the plan was apparently shelved last year amid reports that the silty island, which only emerged from the sea in 2006, was often unhabitable due to regular tidal flooding.
In recent weeks, Bangladesh has appealed for international support to move the Rohingya to the island as the impoverished nation struggles to cope with the influx
More than 436,000 refugees have crossed the border from Myanmar’s Rakhine state since August 25 when a military crackdown was launched following attacks by Rohingya militants.
There is not enough food, water or medicine to go around. Roads around the camps are littered with human excrement, fueling UN fears that serious disease could quickly break out.


Wife of former Malaysian PM Najib to be questioned by anti-corruption agency

Updated 19 min 45 sec ago
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Wife of former Malaysian PM Najib to be questioned by anti-corruption agency

  • Rosmah was first questioned in June in connection with the investigation
  • A source familiar with the investigation said Rosmah would be questioned in connection with the 1MDB probe

KUALA LUMPUR: Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, was summoned on Tuesday for questioning by the anti-graft agency in its multi-billion dollar corruption probe at state fund 1MDB.
It was the second time Rosmah, 66, has been called in by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) since the shock defeat of Najib in the May general election.
Rosmah was first questioned in June in connection with the investigation, which is looking into allegations of corruption and misappropriation in state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Her husband has pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust.
The former first lady was served with a notice on Tuesday afternoon to appear before MACC the next day, her lawyer K.Kumaraendran said, adding that she was asked to assist with investigations under the anti-money laundering act.
A source familiar with the investigation said Rosmah would be questioned in connection with the 1MDB probe.
After filing fresh charges against Najib last week, Azam Baki, the deputy commissioner of the anti-graft agency, said more charges could be brought against individuals over 1MDB.
When asked if Rosmah could face charges, he said: “I’m not denying that.”
Rosmah’s penchant for designer handbags, watches and jewelry raised eyebrows in Malaysia, with opponents asking how she was able to afford the luxury items on her husband’s government salary.
She has drawn comparisons to Imelda Marcos, who left behind more than 1,200 pairs of shoes when her husband Ferdinand Marcos was ousted as president of the Philippines in 1986.
Najib and Rosmah have both been barred from leaving the country since the former’s election defeat, and their home and other properties linked to them have been searched by the police as part of the 1MDB investigations.
The haul seized from the properties included 567 handbags, 423 watches and 12,000 pieces of jewelry.
Najib has said most of the seized items were gifts given to his wife and daughter and had nothing to do with 1MDB.
The US Department of Justice has alleged more than $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB and that about $680 million ended up in Najib’s personal bank account. Najib has denied any wrongdoing.