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Rohingya Activist Has Not Left Home In KL For A Year Over Concerns Of His Family’s Safety



Source: Reuters | Lim Huey Teng

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It’s no secret that Malaysians aren’t exactly friendly with the refugees that are seeking safety in our country. But, have we gone too far?

Rohingya refugee and activist, Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani, has lived in Malaysia for around 30 years, after he fled persecution and ethnic strife in Myanmar.

He considered Malaysia, home, but sadly, Malaysians didn’t feel the same way.

According to Reuters, the 51-year-old has not stepped foot outside his home in Kuala Lumpur in almost a year, as he is worried for his safety following misinformation that he demanded Malaysian citizenship.

“I’m still scared. For a year, I’ve not set foot outside. I’ve not seen the earth outside,” he said, as the misinformation triggered hate speech and death threats against him and his family.

He denied that he made any demands, and he reported the incident, along with the online attacks he’s received from the public to the police. However, no charges seem to have been filed.

Maslina Abu Hassan, Zafar’s Malaysian wife, shared that their three children no longer attend school due to concerns over their safety and that Zafar was even diagnosed with depression over the attacks, which still continue to this day as he still receives abusive calls and messages on his phone and social media accounts.

He has since applied to be moved to another country. Unfortunately, his application was rejected as he doesn’t meet the criteria for resettlement.

“I cannot relax my body, my brain, my heart. I cry asking why people are doing this to me,” he said, hoping that his application will be reconsidered for he no longer feels safe in Malaysia.

Over 100,000 Rohingya people currently reside in Malaysia.

But sadly, the pandemic changed how many locals saw them and accused the Rohingya people of spreading the virus.

Many took to social media and the internet to spread hate speech and call for violence against the Rohingya people and other refugees who call Malaysia home, with a large portion of it targeted at Zafar as he is the leader of a Rohingya refugee rights group.

We have to realise that no matter our feelings towards the matter of refugees, it shouldn’t warrant us the right to cause such harm to someone else’s life.

Being in a civilised society, there are always ways to share opinions and concerns over the matter of refugees without resorting to making death threats, not just at prominent figures, but also at their families, their children.

We can do better.

What do you think about this? Let us know in the comment section.


Also read: M’sian Explains Why The Hatred Towards Refugees In Malaysia Has To Stop

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