ALOR STAR: ALOR STAR: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has towed a boat ferrying 60 Rohingya refugees to its base in Bukit Malut, Langkawi.
The Rohingya refugees were said to be stranded in Thailand following bad weather several days ago.
It was reported that the group was trying to enter Malaysia to seek refuge following the atrocities in their homeland, Myanmar.
The Rohingya refugees were trying to reach Malaysia but were forced to stop off Thai’s western coast in Krabi province on early Sunday due to bad weather.
The refugees are said to be fleeing from overcrowded camps for the stateless minority in southern Bangladesh.
Krabi governor Kitibodee Pravitra confirmed that the people travelling on the boat were Rohingya but did not know where they had come from.
He was reported as saying that the refugees docked near Koh Lanta to avoid a storm and that they wanted to go to Malaysia.
In response to this, the Malaysia Consultative Council of Islam Organisations (Mapim) has deployed a team to assist the Rohingya refugees.
Its president Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid said the boat was spotted by MMEA today near Pulau Tuba, Langkawi.
He said Mapim has activated its operation centre in Langkawi to render assistance to the group.
“We are gathering more information on the group and will work with MMEA to expedite assistance,” he said when contacted.
Mohd Azmi said Mapim is willing to work with the authority to provide immediate aid to women and children who were on board the boat.
Over in KUALA LUMPUR, Minister in the Prime Minister Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said the refugees will be provided with the necessary humanitarian aid.
He said a total of 56 people were found on the boat by MMEA at 10am.
"There were 19 men, 12 women, 18 boys and seven girls on the boat.
"They will be processed by the Immigration Department in Kuala Kedah.
"It is important now for the government to provide the refugees with all the necessary humanitarian aid," Shahidan said when met on the sidelines of the ongoing parliamentary session today.