Suu Kyi's failure over Rohingya crisis disappoints Mahathir

The Malaysian PM urges Myanmar to accept Rohingyas

Published: August 14, 2018 17:45:12 | Updated: August 18, 2018 21:57:34

-AP Photo

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said Myanmar must accept Rohingyas because they are their citizens as they have lived in Myanmar for generations.

Mahathir blasted Myanmar's treatment of Rohingya Muslims and said he was very disappointed with leader Aung San Suu Kyi's failure to halt oppression of the group.

Mahathir made the remarks in an interview Monday with The Associated Press.

He also commented on lopsided China-backed projects, treatment of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims, the South China Sea furor, a water treaty with Singapore and the country’s financial mess during the interview.

"It's grossly unjust to do what they've done, killing people, mass murder, that's not the way civilised nations behave," said the Malaysian Prime Minister.

Mahathir said Malaysia wants to maintain a neutral stance and not be dragged into the Middle East conflict.

His government has shut a Saudi-backed anti-terrorism centre launched last year and plans to withdraw Malaysian troops from the kingdom.

“Saudi Arabia is at war. We don’t want to be involved in any foreign war... we will not be accused of helping any aggressive wars,” he said, citing strikes by a Saudi-led coalition on Yemen and Saudi’s conflict with Qatar.

Mahathir said the government will ensure a fair trial for former leader Najib Razak, who faces trial on multiple charges related to the alleged multibillion-dollar looting of the 1MDB state investment fund.

“We promise that there will be no vengeance but the law will take its own course. ... He will get a fair trial in this country,” Mahathir said. But he added: “Najib is the main culprit. The world knows that Najib stole money.”

Mahathir said the price of raw water sold to Singapore should be increased by more than 10 fold.

Under a decades-old water deal that expires in 2061, Malaysia sells raw water to Singapore at 3 sen ($0.0073) per thousand gallons and buys treated water at 50 sen ($0.12) per thousand gallons.

Mahathir, who has been accused of anti-Semitic views, said he was not against Jews but was criticising their wrongdoing.

“There is one race that cannot be criticized. If you are anti-Semitic, it seems almost as if you are a criminal ... anti-Semitic is a term that is invented to prevent people from criticizing the Jews for doing wrong things,” Mahathir said.

Mahathir, the world’s oldest elected leader at 93, said he doesn’t care how history will judge him.

“Frankly I don’t care. I won’t be around,” he laughed. “When I am dead, it doesn’t matter anymore.”

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