Our Rohingya brethren

Posted on April 27, 2020




In the face of calls from several sectors to repulse the Rohingya boat people and to deport those that are already here, one issue that needs to be resolved is who owns Malaysia.

To some, the Malays are the rightful owners of Malaysia and that this land is Tanah Melayu. To some others, Malaysia belongs to all Malaysians. Some even argue that Malaysia belongs to the Orang Asli or indigenous people.

How does one attain ownership?

To obtain ownership of an item, one has either to create it or purchase it from its owner. The notion of ‘Finders Keepers’ does not and cannot apply especially when there is a known owner.

Who then created Malaysia?

Is it not Almighty God, and He alone, who created the hills and valleys and plains and rivers and all else that make up the land called Malaysia?

Did anyone buy it from God? Did He even put it up for sale? The answer is obvious.

Almighty God and He alone is the rightful owner of Malaysia and everyone else residing in or passing through Malaysia are merely His guests who have been granted temporary residence or right of passage.

As we ourselves are merely the guests of God in this land, what right do we then have to reject His other guests? Remember, nothing happens by accident but is part of the overall divine plan. Do we not realise that this is a test and trial set for us by the Almighty? Do we then abjectly fail whilst we proudly proclaim the brotherhood of Man? What hypocrisy befalls us?

Some of the objections raised arise from the fear that they may spread the Covid 19 amongst us. This stems mainly from them living in close and crowded quarters that are less than hygienic. Now really, whose fault is that? Did not that situation arise because many amongst us did not treat them as brothers in the first instance? They were exploited, lowly paid and provided with deplorable living conditions. It was no less than modern day slavery. And now we blame them?

They have been mercilessly persecuted in their home country and we now wish to send them back to face the inevitable genocide? Truly, of what moral fibre are we made of?

Do we forget that the Prophets Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them all) amongst others were all themselves refugees who had to flee their respective homelands to escape persecution?

To the Muslims, let me remind them that in the year 615 A.D. a group of Muslims had been counselled by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to escape persecution in Makkah and they arrived at the court of the Ethiopian Christian monarch, Negus. The Quraish sent emissaries to Ethiopia to bring them back but Negus, recognizing their persecution refused to send them back and gave them protection.

Later, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself secured sanctuary in Madinah when he was rejected by his own people in Makkah. Are we, unlike the people of Madinah who welcomed and gave sanctuary to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) or Negus who protected the early Muslims, to send the Rohingyas back to face persecution or to deny them sanctuary here?

To Christians, recall that Jesus had to flee Bethlehem, as is reported in your own scripture.

Matthew 2:13:
“And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.”

Matthew 2:14:
“When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:”

How then will Almighty God and history judge us if we reject them?