By Faiz Zainudin | FMT News

PUTRAJAYA: Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob today expressed surprise at the public interest in Rohingya refugees, following a spate of xenophobic comments on the persecuted minority.

In his daily Covid-10 security briefing, Ismail said the Rohingya had long lived in Malaysia after they were hosted by the Malaysian government on humanitarian grounds.

“Prior to this, there was no issue with them coming here,” he said.

“But of late, during the movement control order (MCO) there have been many reports and videos on social media on the Rohingya to provoke public anger towards them,” he added.

Recent attacks on the Rohingya are believed to have stemmed from a statement attributed to Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani, the head of the Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation Malaysia.

Zafar was accused of demanding citizenship for Rohingya, a claim he has repeatedly denied.

Ismail said the police would investigate the claims on social media.

“Malaysia is a peaceful country and we are known as a compassionate country to anyone who is here,” he added.