Malaysia on Saturday June 22nd said the perpetrators of violence against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority must "be brought to justice," in sharp comments delivered at a normally tame regional summit.
Myanmar does not recognise the Rohingya as citizens, instead officially labelling them "Bengalis," shorthand for illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.
A military crackdown in 2017 drove more than 740,000 Rohingya into Bangladesh, carrying accounts of rape, mass killings and the razing of their villages.
Moreover, United Nations investigators have called for Myanmar's top generals to be tried for genocide.
But Myanmar's army and the country’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, have defended the action as necessary to flush out Rohingya militants from Rakhine state.
In talks Saturday June 22nd, with Southeast Asian counterparts, Malaysia's foreign minister, Saifuddin bin Abdullah, called for the "perpetrators of the Rohingya issue to be brought to justice," his ministry said in Tweet.
He also said repatriation of the minority from the fetid, overcrowded refugee camps of Bangladesh "must include the citizenship for the Rohingya."
Malaysia, a Muslim country which hosts a large Rohingya refugee population, is one of the few members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to speak up for the minority.