With hundreds of Rohingya Muslims being driven out of Myanmar allegedly by the country's military, Malaysia has taken a stance and cancelled two under-22 matches scheduled to be played against the Burmese squad in early December.
Following news of alleged "ethnic cleansing" of Rohingya Muslims, who are trying to escape to Bangladesh, Kuala Lumpur's national soccer team spokesman confirmed on Thursday (1 December) that the matches had been called off.
The spokesman told Reuters on the condition of anonymity, "It [cancellation of matches] was a political decision because of the Rohingya issue."
Harimau Malaysia – the country's national team – also posted a message on Twitter on Wednesday and said: "International matches between under-22 Harimau Malaysia vs Myanmar, which were scheduled to take place on Dec. 9 and 12 in Yangon, have been canceled."
Meanwhile, Malaysia's Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that Myanmar's membership of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations should be evaluated because of the "cruelty" forced on the Rohingya Muslims.
Kuala Lumpur has been increasingly critical of the Myanmar government for not doing anything sustainable to protect Rohingyas, who are living in camps in Rakhine state.
According to reports, ethnic Rohingyas are being allegedly victimised over the past few years as they are considered a stateless minority and are termed illegal immigrants in the Buddhist-majority nation.
In 2012, violent clashes between Rohingyas and the military broke out claiming the lives of over 100 people and leaving more than 100,000 homeless.
However, the recent violence is believed to be the fallout of an attack on three security posts by nearly 250 armed men, which occurred on 9 October. Since then, reports claim the Myanmar military has launched an attack on Rohingyas to drive them out of the country.