Gen Zulkifeli has met Myanmar president and its commander-in-chief
to smoothen strained relations between the two countries, says report.
According to the Myanmar Times, the meeting was to smoothen Myanmar-Malaysia ties following the harsh criticism of the Myanmar government by Prime Minister Najib Razak at a rally in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
A statement released by the Myanmar commander-in-chief’s office said Aung Hlaing told Zulkifeli that no human rights violations had taken place against Muslim Rohingya.
The statement also read that Myanmar authorities could not lie about this given the local and international media focus on the state, according to the report.
A statement from the president’s office said Htin Kyaw too held discusions with Zulkifeli.
It said the president’s office blamed the diplomatic tensions on “false news” and that the Myanmar government was working to resolve the issues in Rakhine state in accordance with existing laws and human rights standards.
At a rally attended by about 10,000 people at Titiwangsa Stadium on Sunday, Najib lambasted the Myanmar government for its alleged mistreatment of Rohingya Muslims. It was the first time in recent years that an Asean leader had criticised another Asean nation over internal matters.
Meanwhile, the Myanmar Times report also quoted analysts on Najib’s actions and the consequences on relations between the two nations.
Bangkok-based expert on Asean affairs Kavi Chongkittavorn said Najib’s action was an attempt to gain votes from the Malaysian Muslim community. He said Najib could have made known his concern more effectively through discreet diplomacy.
Adviser to former Myanmar president U Thein Sein, U Ko Ko Hlaing, was quoted as saying Najib’s action was aimed at diverting public attention away from corruption allegations levelled against him.
He said such “inteference” was not good for Asean unity.
The Myanmar Times reported that a group of Muslim organisations in Myanmar had released an open letter to the Malaysian government expressing disapproval of Putrajaya’s response.
In the letter, which was delivered to the Malaysian embassy yesterday, they said Najib’s remarks and actions would do more harm than good for the Muslims in Myanmar.