Cuts by MP Louis Ng for Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Committee of Supply debate 2020
Help in the repatriation of the Rohingyas
Two years ago, I was at the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh and listened to horrific stories of women being raped and how they watched their babies get stabbed to death. I held the hand of a little girl who was shot and she showed me her bullet wound. A young man showed me a video of the dead bodies of his entire family of 7. He watched them get slaughtered.
Two years later all these are still fresh in my mind. What I’ve heard has scarred me for life and made me question my faith in humanity. But more than anything, it has scarred the Rohingyas for life and they desperately need help. This is not a political issue and we are not interfering with domestic affairs. This is a humanitarian disaster and we can and should provide help to over a million refugees.
As DPM Heng said, “As the world builds walls, Singapore must go against the tide and build bridges”. The Rohingyas need this bridge now. They need a way out of the huge wall built around them.
I understand there is a need for an independent assessment of the situation in Rakhine state by the Rohingya themselves before they will consider any repatriation. I hope ASEAN can help facilitate this and Singapore can ensure this is discussed at ASEAN meetings. I’m also willing to volunteer to help with any on-site assessments.
Sir, we need to remember that “There is no us or them. Only us. One human family connected in ways we sometimes forget”.
Watch the speech here
Watch the response here
Read the supplementary questions here