Earlier last week, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak urged Indonesians to come together and fight not only against Jakarta Governor Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama but also for the Rohingya.
The Malaysian prime minister has been vocal about his opposing stance against Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader and her administration, accusing them of allegedly mistreating the Rohingya.
Last Sunday, Razak addressed a pro-Rohingya rally held in Kuala Lumpur, where he accused the government of Myanmar of genocide. The accusations were however denied by Myanmar politicians, who explained that the Malaysian prime minister’s critiques are just part of his tactics to win political points from the Muslim population.
There has been widespread news of human rights abuses being rampant in Myanmar against the persecuted Muslim community of the Rohingya. Political and economic analysts have interpreted this as an indication of a massive humanitarian crisis that the region is suffering from. Today, the issue has resulted in a political tension clearly felt across the Southeast Asian community.
A video of Razak addressing the pro-Rohingya rally went viral in Indonesia as the netizens were piqued by his speech where he asked the Indonesian president Jokowi and the Indonesian people to come together. Razak was noted to highlight the need for the Indonesian government to protest not just against Ahok but to fight for the Rohingya as well. He said, “They should come together. In Jakarta, come together.”
The Malaysian prime minister was referring to Jakarta Governor Ahok and his blasphemy case, for which he was allegedly accused of quoting the Koran incorrectly in one of his political campaigns. The ongoing trial has already caused massive protests not only in Jakarta but across the country and has been generally led by militant Islamic groups against the first-ever governor to be of Chinese and Christian descent.
Similarly, several rallies have already been carried out against Myanmar to protest its treatment of the Rohingya in Indonesia. Police have arrested numerous people for allegedly planting a bomb at the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta. The bomb scare has caused the cancellation of Aung San Suu Kyi’s scheduled trip to the capital late last November.