KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah stressed that it needs courage for those who are in a position of power to stop the ongoing Rohingya genocide.

“We cannot allow fears of upsetting our neighbours or fear of being accused of interference or fears of affecting our regional trade and commerce to prevent us from voicing out our anxieties and alarm at what is happening in Rakhine state,” he said.

Speaking at the fund raising dinner for the Rohingyas here, last night, Sultan Nazrin said in the case of the Rohingyas, almost all the criteria of genocide defined by the United Nations, applied.

The UN in 1948 defined genocide as acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group including killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.

He said more than 400,000 Rohingyas, or almost a third of their population of 1.5 million in the Rakhine state, Myanmar were displaced and lived in squalor in makeshift refugee camps.

“Thousands more have been murdered and dumped in rivers and shallow mass graves. Every day, dozens, if not hundreds of them die due to lack of food and medical supplies or drown when their boats sink,” he said.

Sultan Nazrin said the people could learn from those who have seen the horrors with their own eyes, from those who had suffered the consequences of genocide over the centuries.

“And we can only hope that our children, our future generations, will learn from what we could have done and what we have done, in our small ways, to ease the suffering of victims of injustice and genocide.

“We have to believe that we can change, although history has shown over the centuries that man does not learn, and always succumbs to his reptilian instincts,” he added.

The fund raising event, organised by the Edge Galarie, managed to raise about RM1.2 million and would be channeled by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to support humanitarian aid for the Rohingyas.

The collection was raised through the sale of 15 paintings, which were donated by renowned local artists including Latiff Mohidin, Datuk Sharifah Fatimah Syed Zubir, Ahmad Zaki Anwar and Chang Fee Meng.

One of the paintings by Latiff, specially made for the occasion titled ‘Exodus’ was bought by Sultan Nazrin.

Also present at the event were Raja Permaisuri Perak Tuanku Zara Salim, The Edge Media Group executive chairman, Datuk Tong Kooi Ong and ECM Libra chairman Datuk Seri Kalimullah Hassan.