Edmund Santhara Cops Flak After Blaming “DAP-Linked-People” for Anti-Rohingya Xenophobia

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Deputy Federal Territories Minister Edmund Santhara has copped flak following his comments yesterday that the anti-Rohingya sentiment on social media comes from a section of netizens with allegiances to DAP.

In a statement today, Klang MP Charles Santiago rebuked Edmund saying it demonstrated how the latter was “grasping at words to make his argument seem vaguely legitimate”.

Santiago said Edmund’s comment smacked of desperation and was the sort of sweeping statement that is “ignorant, vile, toxic and is aimed at creating chaos and inciting hate”.

“Even this is nothing new because those aligned with Umno or former Umno members are continuously trying to demonise the Democratic Action Party (DAP) because we have won the respect and trust of many,” said Santiago in a statement today.

“It would, however, be good for me to remind Santhara that the-then Deputy Defence Minister, Liew Chin Tong, has visited Cox’s Bazaar to speak to the Rohingya who have fled Myanmar because of targeted persecution.”

Santiago said he had in his capacity as the Chairperson of Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights, led a regional parliamentary delegation to Cox’s Bazaar to listen to the violence and gross violations of human rights that the Rohingya have suffered at the hands of the Myanmar military.

“I also met with Yang Hee Lee, UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, to explore ways in which the United Nations and ASEAN can lobby Myanmar to stop the attacks against the minority Rohingya,” added Santiago.

He reminded Santhara that the DAP has always fought for the rights of the marginalised and disenfranchised, and urged the latter to look for a scapegoat elsewhere.

“Anyone who has been following the hate campaign against the Rohingya over the last two weeks would have noticed that it’s well coordinated. After that came the attacks against any rights activist who spoke up for the Rohingya,” said Santiago.

“And now, we have mass arrests of undocumented migrant workers and according to eyewitnesses, this includes women and children. So, clearly, someone, a political party or a bigger group of people are behind this disgusting campaign.”

Yesterday, Edmund, who is also Segamat MP had told Malaysiakini and KiniTV in an interview that the recent tide of xenophobia manifesting in anti-Rohingya stance as “originating from the DAP side”.

“I wouldn’t say (the hate speech and xenophobia targeting the Rohingya community were coming from) DAP as a party, but the people associated in their circle,” he told Malaysiakini and KiniTV.

Mukhriz Hazim/Malaysiakini

“Even though some accused DAP’s keyboard warriors, (it is) not DAP, but the smoke is coming from people around them. There will be no smoke without fire.” – The Sun Daily