26 Sept, Source Malaymail
Sinar Bima carrying 500 tonnes of relief items for victims of Myanmar conflict
HIGH SEAS: The Sinar Bima, with the Jalur Gemilang on its bow, leaving Port Klang for Myanmar after it was flagged off by Muhyiddin yesterday – Pic: ASHRAF SHAMSUL AZLAN
KELAB Putera 1Malaysia’s humanitarian aid trip to Rakhine, Myanmar, was finally flagged off when the cargo vessel Sinar Bima left Port Klang’s North Port yesterday.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin flagged off the vessel at 10.50am. It carried 500 tonnes of food, medical supplies, medication and other relief items in 40 containers.
Muhyiddin said that as an Asean member, Malaysia has a commitment to assist its neighbours involved in any conflict.
"This humanitarian trip will assist everyone regardless of whether they are Muslims or Buddhists. It’s a honourable mission and it’s not an easy task," he said.
"The club has taken up the challenge to provide assistance and support to those who need it there.
"Their initiative will send a global message that Malaysia is always keen to help its neighbours. However, I do believe this is just a temporary relief exercise and it will not be permanent.
"I trust the Myanmar government is doing its very best to find an amicable solution to the problems there."
He urged the Malaysian aid team to be alert at all times as the area is not stable.
Club president Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, who is leading the team, said they have the Myanmar government’s support and will be protected by a military convoy.
Asked whether they are prepared for possible violence, akin to the ill-fated Somali mission which saw the death of Bernama TV cameraman Noramfaizul Mohd Nor in September last year, Abdul Azeez said they have had "training".
"We are have undergone training and we also have bullet proof vests. However, our embassy at Yangoon said the vests are not needed. Only the military carry firearms," he said.
Abdul Azeez and the team will depart from LCCT and land in Yangoon International Airport. From Yangoon, the team will travel by land for about 900km till it reaches Sittwi City in Rakhine state.
The advanced team is expected to leave on Friday and the main team will be leaving on Monday.
The vessel will be heading for Yangoon Harbour and from there, a tugboat will lead it to Sittwi Harbour.
About two months ago, a murderous wave between the Buddhist Rakhine majority and the Muslim Rohingya minority erupted in the Rakhine state of Myanmar.
The violence started after it was reported on May 28 that a 26-year-old Buddhist woman had been raped and killed by Muslim men. Three Muslim men were detained the following day.
The incident lit the fuse for communal violence in the area. On June 3, about 300 Buddhists attacked a bus in Taungup, killing 10 Muslim men, reportedly in front of policemen and soldiers who did not intervene.