KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian flotilla delivering aid to ethnic Rohingya will now be able to dock at Bangladesh's Teknaf port, after a meeting between the Malaysia's Foreign Affairs Minister Anifah Aman and the High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Malaysia Mh Shahidul Islam.
The Bangladeshi government had earlier denied the ship access to Teknaf port, according to a statement from Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday (Feb 3).
Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs then said in a statement issued on Saturday morning: "The matter has now been resolved as a result of the good relations between Malaysia and Bangladesh."
The flotilla, which is carrying 2,200 tonnes of food and emergency supplies, plans to dock in Yangon to unload supplies for the Rohingya in the Rakhine state before sailing to Teknaf in Bangladesh.
The ship with 250 volunteers on board - including medics, doctors and members of Malaysian political parties UMNO and PAS - had originally planned to sail to Sittwe in the conflict-prone Rakhine state but were denied access by the Myanmar government as well. Myanmar said it would receive the aid in Yangon instead and distribute it to the ethnic Rohingya themselves, a plan volunteers viewed as less than ideal.
Malaysia's Foreign Affairs Minister Anifah Aman met with Bangladesh High Commissioner to Malaysia Mohd Shahidul Islam earlier on Friday to express "deep regret" over the Bangladeshi government’s earlier decision, "given the excellent bilateral relations between the two countries".
According to Malaysia's Foreign Affairs Ministry, Mr Anifah reiterated during the meeting that Malaysia's main concern was the plight of the Rohingyas in Myanmar as well as the Rohingya refugees.