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Ministers, MPs, NGOs And Universities Express Support For Uyghurs, Call For Closer Collaboration

Ministers, MPs, NGOs And Universities Express Support For Uyghurs, Call For Closer Collaboration

The Uyghur delegation urged Malaysians to read the UN report on China’s Xinjiang Uyghur accusations themselves.

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Malaysian lawmakers expressed commitment to address China’s ongoing human rights abuses against its Muslim minority Uyghur population.

PKR leader and Hang Tuah Jaya MP Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin said Malaysia would shine a light on the “systemic human rights violations against the Uyghur people”.

He assured Malaysia would work on providing support to the Uyghurs, especially in areas of education and social economics.

PKR leader Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin (left) listening attentively during the meeting with the Uyghur delegation. With him is Secretary General Muhammad Fazril Mohd Salleh. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

At the same time, the former Deputy Minister of Primary Industries acknowledged that Malaysia’s commitment to good relations with China is profound.

China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years, with bilateral trade hitting a record high of US$176.8 billion last year.

Yet, it’s very difficult not to talk clinically and dispassionately about the Uyghurs. Furthermore, UN human rights experts have raised serious concerns about the alleged detention and forced labour of Uyghurs in China.

PKR leader and Hang Tuah Jaya MP Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin on the ongoing Uyghur crisis.

He made the remarks during a meeting with an Uyghur delegation led by Hidayet Oguzhan, head of the East Turkestan Education and Solidarity Association (ETESA).

Hidayet said the ongoing genocide and mass incarceration of Uyghurs and other predominantly-Muslim ethnic minorities are heinous crimes executed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

READ MORE: Muslim Nations Must Stop Staying Silent Over China’s Abuse Of The Uyghurs

He thanked Malaysian NGOs for their support, notably Muslim Youth Movement Malaysia (Abim), which had been engaging with their audiences to raise awareness. 

On the other hand, I feel very sad, because the message I’m conveying is a sad one. Our people are being destroyed. And this is why I believe this outpouring of support from Malaysia will have a positive effect.

ETESA leader Hidayet Oguzhan expressing thanks to Malaysia on its effort to help the Uyghurs.

The Uyghur delegation also drew support and encouragement from Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Idris Ahmad, Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) deputy president Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub and Dewan Negara speaker Tan Sri Rais Yatim, among others.

Hidayet Oguzhan (left), head of the ETESA, meets Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Idris Ahmad. in Putrajaya. (Pix: Fernando Fong)
Amanah deputy president Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub (right) and Allied Coordinating Committee of Islamic NGOs (ACCIN) CEO Jamal Shamsudin in a meeting with the Uyghur delegation. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

The Uyghur delegation held brainstorming sessions with local NGOs leaders and political analysts, including the Commissioner to the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Datuk Ahmad Azam Rahman

Ahmad Azam, also the Foreign Minister’s special advisor on Afghanistan, said the Uyghurs is a core, sensitive issue requiring tactful, subtle and sophisticated judgments.

IPHRC commissioner Datuk Ahmad Azam Rahman sharing a light moment with the Uyghur delegation. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

Of course, that doesn’t mean that the Chinese position is correct or anything like that.

At the same time, Azam pointed out that educational aid will be crucial because children’s future matters.

Because we know how important learning is to success later in life, we should made education for Uyghur children a priority. Education is about enhancing the well-being, life skills, and holistic development of children and advancing the goals and aspirations of a society.

IPHRC commisioner Datuk Ahmad Azam Rahman on the collbaoration between Uyghurs and Malaysia.

Ahmad Azam added that there is an urgent need to counter China’s attempt to control the narrative on the Uyghur issue.

He warned that the propaganda campaign had reached a fever pitch, especially among Muslim countries.

The Uyghurs also sought advice for the areas of cooperation from Dr Abdul Razak Ahmad, the Founding Director of the think tank Bait Al Amanah.

Dr Razak said Malaysia needs a clear or defined position on the Uyghur issue since the government has not expressed support or rejected the Chinese government policies in Xinjiang.

Malaysia’s hedging strategy towards China means it is unlikely that Malaysia will directly challenge or confront China about what is happening in Xinjiang. But with mounting evidence of suppression of religion and the systematic manifestation of Islamophobia, silence is no longer an option.

Bait Al Amanah founding director Dr Razak Ahmad on reconsidering the strategy and practice of engaging China constructively.

The delegation also met Azmi Abdul Hamid, president of the Malaysian Consultative Council Of Islamic Organizations (Mapim).

READ MORE: Why Does The Refugees’ Children’s Education Matter To Us? [Opinion]

Mapim president Azmi Abdul Hamid stressing a point during a discussion with Uyghur leaders. (Pix Fernando Fong)

Silent No More

Meanwhile, Australian Uyghur leader Nurmuhammad Majid said Malaysia cannot be silent as the CCP tortures and seeks to annihilate an entire people in Xinjiang, which is home to 10 million Uyghurs.

He urged Malaysia to do more and provide more deterrents against China without jeopardising bilateral relations.

The Uyghur delegations having a light moment with Abim members during a briefing session. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

Majid, a graduate of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), also praised Malaysia for standing up for his people.

I am incredibly grateful for this development Malaysia, a true signal that the Uyghur cause is far from being ignored. However, it’s most regretted that some Malaysian mainstream media had been complicit in China propaganda’s blitz.

Australian Uyghur leader Nurmuhammad Majid on Malaysia’s support the Uyghurs.

Nevertheless, he wants Malaysia to do much more, the same way the country has been helping others, such as Palestinians, Syrians and Rohingyas.

READ MORE: Malaysian NGOs Launch Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, Condemn Israel’s Attack On The Al-Aqsa Mosque

Australian Uyghur leader Nurmuhammad Majid speaks at a brainstorming session with Malaysian NGOs in Kuala Lumpur. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

On another note, Majid reiterated that proposals on a business venture, restaurants, educational exchange and humanitarian aid had been discussed.

The highlight is the Uyghur cultural centre and restaurant, which will be a platform for helping Malaysians to understand the Uyghur situation.

For a start, an Uyghur food exhibition was recently held with the cuisines prepared by Uyghur chefs.

The Uyghurs are predominately Muslim, so their cooking is Halal, with noodles and lamb at the heart of many dishes. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

We need to humanise the situation, such as by bringing our cultural presence
gender inequality, racial discrimination, unemployment, underdevelopment of Xinjiang, pollution in Xinjiang.

Australian Uyghur leader Nurmuhammad Majid on spreading awareness among Malaysians.

He added that China would interfere, but the Uyghurs are determined to persevere by engaging all the legal processes to start their projects in Malaysia.

READ MORE: Muslim Nations Must Stop Staying Silent Over China’s Abuse Of The Uyghurs

The Uyghur delegation presenting a memento to Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, the Rector of IIUM. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

Why Are Uyghurs Being Sent To China?

Local authorities in China reportedly hold hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs in these camps.

Members of other ethnic minority groups in China are also detained to counter extremism and terrorism and promote social integration.

More than one million Uighur and other Muslim minorities are forcibly held in mass detention camps in Xinjiang.

They face countless human rights cases of abuse from forced labour, coerced sterilisation, and destruction of their culture and religious identity.

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