PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia and the United Kingdom are on the same page on the repatriation of a million Rohingyas back to Rakhine State, Myanmar.
Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the issue was one of the topics discussed during a courtesy call by UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jeremy Hunt at Wisma Putra here this afternoon.
Saifuddin said he had briefed Hunt on the measures taken by Asean foreign ministers to resolve the crisis.
“I have briefed him (Hunt) that the Asean foreign ministers have spoken to the Myanmar and Bangladeshi governments on the setting up of the Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management to play a role in ensuring the process of repatriation.
“We also want to make sure that repatriation happens in the right manner where it is safe, voluntary and dignified.”
Hunt said Malaysia and the UK were committed to working with other countries to resolve the humanitarian crisis.
“The current status quo is not acceptable, neither fair, humane or dignified,” he said.
“So, our meeting was about what needs to happen to take the situation forward.
“We intend to work with Malaysia, Asean and the United Nations to try to make some real progress in resolving the terrible situation.”
Hunt said it was good to hear about the progress that Malaysia had made towards achieving a sustainable palm oil industry.
“The UK will continue to follow this very closely,” he added.
Hunt said the UK was ready to help the government in its fight against corruption.
“The fact that you made the very crucial step of a peaceful transfer of power between parties for the first time in Malaysian history. This is a very, very important step.
“And, of course, the UK stands ready to support in any way possible, particularly the current government’s efforts to fight corruption.”
Saifuddin said Malaysia was looking forward to enhanced cooperation in areas such as in the democratisation process.
“We also welcome the offer by the British government to assist us in some of our governmental reform agenda, in particular in the transformation of the civil service.”
Commenting on Brexit, Saifuddin said the UK would continue to play a role post-Brexit in many areas.
“Their (the UK) interest in safety and security for mankind transcends Brexit like in their concern about the Rohingnya issue,” he added.
Trade between the two countries has been consistent in the last 10 years with an average volume of RM12 to RM17 billion a year, Saifuddin said.