By Syed Faizal Bin Sitheek Rahman
The Uyghur is calling for help and Malaysia as a Muslim country seemed to be silent about the oppression that they are going through. Our Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said that the reason is because China is one of the most powerful nations in the world; therefore we need to find another way to deal with Beijing so that the relationship between Malaysia and China does not damaged economically (Malaysiakini, 2019). Malaysia and China have been in political, social and economic relationship since before independence. Therefore, it is not an easy thing to raise voice against them as there might be some consequences that Malaysia will be facing afterwards.
In addition, he mentioned that China is a big trading partner in Malaysia and currently we are tied to Beijing because of Barisan Nasional’s projects that was renegotiated and confirmed on previously such as like the East Coast Rail Link, Multi-Product Pipeline and Tarns-Sabah Gas Pipeline and others. This might be one of the reasons why Malaysia is not enlisted in the group of 22 countries that are against China’s detention program in Xinjiang (Nurul & Ali, 2019).
All these 22 countries expressed their concern by writing letters to the President of the United Nation Human Rights Council and the United Nation High Commissioner for Human Rights by calling upon on China to uphold their national laws, international commitments and refrain from arbitrarily detaining or restricting on the freedom of Uyghur’s minority in Xinjiang. However, it is sad to see that Malaysia which has stood for many Muslim’s countries before could not stand or fight for this issue currently because of the economic relationship that we have with China (Putz, 2019)
It is even sadder that when there are another group of 37 countries who agree and defend with what China is doing in the Uyghur’s community. They mentioned that China has made remarkable achievement in the field of Human Rights and contributed to the protection and human rights development. One of the reasons why they defend China is because their own experience, for example, like Russia and North Korea have come under frequent attack internally and from abroad in the past. Due to their experience, they stand with China (Cumming-Bruce, 2019).
China has placed approximately 1.5 million Uyghur’s Muslims in re-education camps which they claim that is was necessary to prevent or combat against the Islamic extremist. However, what’s China’s claiming and what is really happening is very different. People who are detained or undergoing the re-education programs are being tortured and forced to submit to the will or policy of China. For example, from one of the interview with Uyghur Muslim Woman who managed to escape from Xinjiang gave her testimony in Congressional-Executive Commission on China in United Kingdom by saying that the China’s authority stripped, tortured and even laughed or make fun of her religion during the detainment (Halmurat, 2019).
When other countries such as like Hong Kong are also standing up for Uyghur (Al-Jazeera, 2019). It is perhaps the right time for Malaysia to join in the fight for Uyghur people too. Maybe we do not need to protest like Hong Kong, which turned out to be a riot, but at least we can peacefully do something to stop this mass brainwashing program otherwise the human right will not be defended. In the last summit in Kuala Lumpur, Mohd Asri Bin Zainul Abidin, who is the top Islamic jurist from Perlis state mentioned that Muslims need to boycott Chinese products due to Uyghur abuses. Even though, Malaysia could not protest directly via government administration. We can still protest through NGOs and third party channel so that the world can hear our support towards our Muslims brothers and sisters in Uyghur (Regencia, 2019).
Al Jazeera. (2019, December 23). Hong Kong protesters rally in support of minority Uighurs. Retrieved December 25, 2019, from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/12/hong-kong-protesters-rally-support-minority-uighurs-191223002851526.html.
Cumming-Bruce, N. (2019, July 13). More than 35 countries defend China over mass detention of Uighur Muslims in UN letter. Retrieved December 25, 2019, from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-mass-detentions-uighur-muslims-un-letter-human-rights-a9003281.html.
Halmurat Harri Uyghur @HalmuratU. (2019, November 27). I risked my life getting my parents out of a Chinese Muslim detention camp. I need your help to save more. Retrieved December 25, 2019, from https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/china-uighur-muslim-detention-camps-xinjiang-escape-a9220436.html.
Malaysiakini. (2019, September 28). Silence on Uyghurs because China is powerful – Mahathir. Retrieved December 25, 2019, from https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/493663.
Nurul, & Ali, N. A. (2019, December 23). Ini 22 Negara Yang Menentang Penindasan Etnik Muslim Uighur, Malaysia Tidak Tersenarai? Retrieved December 25, 2019, from https://siakapkeli.my/2019/12/23/ini-22-negara-yang-menentang-penindasan-etnik-muslim-uighur-malaysia-tidak-tersenarai/.
Regencia, T. (2019, December 20). Muslims urged to boycott Chinese products over Uighur abuses. Retrieved December 25, 2019, from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/12/muslim-boycott-chinese-products-urged-uighur-treatment-191220122039763.html.
Putz, C. (2019, July 22). Which Countries Are For or Against China’s Xinjiang Policies? Retrieved December 25, 2019, from https://thediplomat.com/2019/07/which-countries-are-for-or-against-chinas-xinjiang-policies/.