NEW YORK: Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has condemned the Myanmar government for the massacre of Rohingya in Rakhine.
“I believe in non-interference in the internal affairs of nations. But does the world watch massacres being carried out and do nothing?
”Nations are independent. But does this mean they have a right to massacre their own people, because they are independent?” he said in his statement to the 73rd United Nations General Assembly on Friday (Sep 28).
Mahathir said the actions of the Myanmar government that have been denied by Aung San Suu Kyi have caused the loss of lives, destruction of homes and displacement of its people.
"In Myanmar, Muslims in Rakhine state are being murdered, their homes torched and a million refugees had been forced to flee, to drown in the high seas, to live in makeshift huts, without water or food, without the most primitive sanitation. Yet the authorities of Myanmar including a Nobel Peace Laureate deny that this is happening,” he said.
Mahathir also hit out at the double standards of rich and powerful nations who speak on the importance of free trade but at same time exploit the terms of trade where the poor nations are no longer independent.
“Free trade means no protection by small countries of their infant industries. They must abandon tariff restrictions and open their countries to invasion by products of the rich and the powerful,” he said.
Mahathir said Malaysian palm oil faced boycotts, was labelled as dangerous to health and was accused of destroying the habitat of animals, while food products of the rich were declared as palm-oil free.
“Yet the simple products of the poor are subjected to clever barriers so that they cannot penetrate the market of the rich,”he said.
In cynicism, Mahathir said: "These caring people forget that their boycott is depriving hundreds of thousands of people from jobs and a decent life."
The prime minister denied the claims by saying that some 48 per cent of Malaysia remains virgin jungle.
"While globalisation has indeed brought us some benefits, the impacts have proven to be threatening to the independence of small nations.
”We cannot even talk or move around without having our voices and movement recorded and often used against us. Data on everyone is captured and traded by powerful nations and their corporations,” he said.