By Gaea Katreena Cabico
MANILA, Philippines (Update 2, 10:51 a.m.) — Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano over the weekend released a statement as the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on the crisis in Rakhine state without referring to violence against Rohingya Muslims.
Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim nation and a member of ASEAN, disassociated itself from the ASEAN chairperson's position and described it as a "misrepresentation of the reality of the situation."
Malaysia's Foreign Affairs Minister Anifah Aman, in a strongly worded disavowal, said Cayetano's statement "was not based on consensus."
"The statement (of Cayetano) also omits the Rohingyas as one of the affected communities," Aman said in a statement on Sunday.
Before the chair's statement, ASEAN has kept mum on the crisis involving Bangladesh and member-state Myanmar. Even rarer still is Malaysia's public opposition in the Southeast Asian bloc known for its "flexible engagement," "non-interference" and consensus.
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