KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – In a keynote address Tuesday (June 4th), Prime Minister Najib Razak urged Muslim minority communities in ASEAN countries to seek greater autonomy rather than independence, local media reported.
"A permanent solution to the problems of indigenous Muslim minorities must be found, for example in the Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar [Burma]," Najib said at a symposium on 'Islam and the New Era of ASEAN Countries'.
"On the one hand, these Muslims should be made to understand that they must live under the current national governments. They must eschew violence and forget any idea about independent Muslim states, as it is not realistic," according to New Straits Times.
"Muslims must also understand their responsibilities towards non-Muslims," Najib added.
He also urged respective governments to grant minority communities autonomy and protection with regard to their religious, linguistic and cultural identities while enhancing socioeconomic opportunities, The Daily Star reported.