Qatar steps forward to support Malaysia in helping Rohingya community

DOHA: Qatar is among the latest Islamic countries to come forward to support Malaysia in its humanitarian project to help the Rohingya community that had sought refuge in the country.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the Qatar government had agreed to provide special funds for Malaysia to aid the refugees in three areas, primary school education, skill training, and medical and health care.

"The agreement to channel funds is a positive response by Qatar to Malaysia's ongoing efforts in resolving issues regarding the Rohingya.

"The Qatar government is very appreciative of the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak)'s role in assisting the Rohingya community," he told Malaysian journalists here.

Ahmad Zahid who is also Home Minister is in Qatar on a four-day working visit since Feb 4.

The is Ahmad Zahid's first visit to the richest country in the world since being appointed as deputy prime minister in July last year.

According to him, Qatar's commitment was secured after a series of meetings between him and the Qatar top leadership.

He said the sponsorship for the humanitarian project, expected to involve millions of ringgit, would be channelled through the Qatar Development Fund (QDF), for Rohingya refugees and their families in Malaysia with UNHCR cards.

The funds, he said, would be used to implement three projects involving skill training in the plantation and manufacturing sectors, preschools and primary schools for Rohingya children, and health insurance scheme for medical treatment for the community.

Ahmad Zahid said the Malaysian National Security Council had been entrusted to coordinate with the relevant ministries, departments, government agencies and non-governmental organisations in ensuring smooth implementation of the projects.

He said the skill training would help the Rohingya community become semi-skilled or skilled workers and while waiting for the conflict back home to end, they could find jobs in the relevant sectors in Malaysia.

He said Qatar also requested Malaysia to initiate a cooperation with NGOs run by Myanmar citizens in the country in the aspect of preschool and primary school education for the Rohingya children.

"The schools must follow the syllabus in Myanmar's current education system with the objective that when the conflict in the country is over, these children could continue their education using the same syllabus in Myanmar," he said.

Aside from that, said Ahmad Zahid, Qatar requested Malaysia to prepare a health coverage plan through an insurance company to ensure that the Rohingya refugees received the best treatment.

According to him, the QDF would sponsor the payments for the insurance premiums specially accorded to Rohingya refugees in Malaysia.

Malaysia has been championing the plight of the miniority Rohingya in Myanmar against continuous discrimination, and the latest endeavour by its top leadership was to send a humanitarian vessel loaded with thousands of metric tonnes of food and emergency provisions to Myanmar for the deprived community. — Bernama