Malaysia’s top maritime agency on Tuesday intercepted a boat carrying nearly five dozen Rohingya near the country’s northwestern coast, officials said.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said the boat, discovered off the island of Langkawi, was ferrying 36 adults and about 20 children. The group belongs to the ethnic Rohingya community, which has been at the receiving end of what the United Nations calls a “systematic ethnic cleansing” in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
An official said 29 of the boat’s occupants were women.
“[MMEA] provided early aid such as food, water and medicine,” said North Regional Director Adm. Rozali Mohammed Said.
The refugees were to be handed over to the state immigration department because they were found within Malaysian waters and without valid documents, Rozali said.
While the MMEA took seriously any sign of aggression across Malaysian waters, agency officials were trying to show leniency to the Rohingya on the principle of humanity, he said.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, expressed appreciation for Kuala Lumpur’s move allowing the refugees to disembark on Malaysian territory.
Full story: BenarNews
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