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Saudi Arabia to chip in for Rohingya

The Star/ANN | Zuhrin Azam Ahmad | Monday, Jun 8, 2015

Saudi deputy premier and minister of interior Crown Prince Mohammad bin Naif (R) meeting with Prime Minister of Malaysia Mohamed Najib Abdul Razak in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah.

JEDDAH - Saudi Arabia has responded positively towards Malaysia's proposal for a humanitarian fund for the Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants now still stranded at sea.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Saudi's ruler King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud had agreed in principle to contribute to the fund.

The proposal, he said, was discussed during his audience with King Salman here yesterday.

"Malaysia made the proposal as ASEAN chairman. Besides Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also agreed to contribute.

"The Foreign Ministry will handle the matter," he told reporters after the audience at the As Salam Palace here yesterday.

Najib was accompanied by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.

It was reported that several thousand Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants were stranded at the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea after being abandoned by traffickers whom they had paid to smuggle them into Malaysia.

The traffickers had fled following a major crackdown by Thai authorities following the discovery of mass graves in the kingdom early last month.

Najib said issues related to international security, including the Islamic State terrorist threats were also discussed during the meeting.

"I have also extended the Government's invitation to both King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad Naif Al Saud to visit Malaysia," he said.

Earlier, Najib spent nearly an hour visiting the Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro Line operation centre in Mecca, which is managed by Prasarana Malaysia Berhad.

Metro Line is an electric train service covering an 18km track between Arafah and Mina.

The service is for pilgrims during the haj season.

Prasarana was awarded a three-year contract worth RM768mil (S$278 million).

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