Malaysian field hospital operations at Cox's Bazar end

The decision was taken as a precautionary measure against the outbreak.

A Rohingya man carrying his belongings approaches the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Bandarban, an area under Cox's Bazar authority, Bangladesh. - Filepic REUTERS | Astro Awani
The operations of the field hospital in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh have been discontinued since March, following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster), Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said, the decision was taken as a precautionary measure against the outbreak.

"The operations of the Malaysian field hospital have been terminated and 56 members of the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) have been called back as COVID-19 struck the country," he told the daily media conference on the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), here, today.

The field hospital began operations in late 2017 after an influx of more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh due to Myanmar military atrocities north of Rakhine.

Earlier, Bernama reported that no more ATM team would be stationed at the field hospital following the outbreak.

Asked to comment on the detention of 269 Rohingya refugees who encroached into the waters of Langkawi on Sunday, Ismail Sabri said their modus operandi gave the security forces no choice but to rescue them.

“When they (the Rohingya people) entered the country's waters, they holed the boat, damaged the boat's engine or jump overboard.

"Over 50 Rohingya jumped into the sea and the government had a choice of letting them die at sea or save them. But, surely on humanitarian grounds we should not leave them," he said.

Yesterday, media reports the National Task Force (NTF) announced that 269 Rohingya residents were detained for intruding into the waters of Langkawi, and the authorities also found the body of a woman in the boat ferrying the illegals.

All of them were arrested at about 5 am on the information of the Langkawi Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) Maritime Operations Commanding Officer several hours prior to that. - BERNAMA