Southeast Asian lawmakers urge leaders to act on Rohingya crisis amid exodus of refugees

Southeast Asian lawmakers are urging their leaders to discuss Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim crisis at their summit in Malaysia this weekend, saying it has led to the highest outflow of asylum seekers by sea in the region since the Vietnam War.

The ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, a grouping of regional lawmakers, said Wednesday that the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations must abandon its policy of not interfering in each other's affairs, which has been used as a justification to avoid holding a discussion on the Rohingya issue.

Malaysian lawmaker Charles Santiago said the Rohingya issue is an ASEAN problem due to an exodus of refugees fleeing to countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

He said ASEAN leaders "should not hide behind the notion of non-interference" any longer.