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Hamid’s declaration that ASEAN will never suspend Myanmar despite its bloody crackdown of mass protests most deplorable and reprehensible as it has undone the “revulsion” statement of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers in UN, given encouragement to Myanmar military junta’s hard line position and undermined Ibrahim Gambari’s diplomatic initiatives
(Parliament, Wednesday) : I am totally flabbergasted by the statement of the Foreign Minister; Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar that ASEAN will never suspend Myanmar despite its bloody crackdown on mass protests after his meeting with the United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari yesterday.
Hamid’s declaration is most deplorable and reprehensible as it has undone the “revulsion” statement of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers in the United Nations last month over the violent suppression of peaceful demonstrations in Myanmar, given encouragement to the Myanmar military junta’s hard line position and undermined Ibrahim Gambari’s diplomatic efforts to kick start a political dialogue in Burma for national reconciliation and democratization.
Malaysia’s public position that Myanmar will never be suspended from ASEAN under any circumstances will only strengthen and harden the Myanmar military junta in its defiant and unrepentant responses to the international outrage at its bloody repression of peaceful dissent, shrugging off international action to punish it for its crackdown of the saffron revolution last month, even as Japan cut aid and European nations widened sanctions.
Even if the Malaysian government is currently of the view that Myanmar should never be suspended, let alone expelled, from ASEAN whatever egregious violations of human rights and democratic freedoms of the people of Burma are committed by the Myanmar military junta, why was it tactically necessary for Hamid to make such a public statement at a time when every lever should be applied to single-mindedly impress on the Myanmar military junta the unity and weight of regional and international opinion that it should respond positively to United Nations initiatives for a political dialogue for national reconciliation and democratization in Burma and to end all human right violations.
However, is it the position of the Malaysian government under the premiership of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that Malaysia will oppose any suspension or expulsion of Myanmar from ASEAN regardless of what human right violations and atrocities are committed by its military junta?
This should not be the position of the Malaysian government as the Malaysian Parliament has never given a mandate to the government to extend unconditional support to the Myanmar military junta whether regionally or internationally regardless of its human rights violations or atrocities or even crimes against humanity.
It is not enough for any ASEAN nation to say that ASEAN backs the United Nation efforts and urges Myanmar to co-operate with Gambari and the United Nations to find a political solution.
There is not much optimism that Gambari will succeed in achieving a breakthrough with the Myanmar military junta, as evidenced by the continuing campaign of arrests and terror in Myanmar while Gambari continued to call for talks, unless all important players – especially China, India, ASEAN and the UN – do more.
All eyes are also on the 13th ASEAN Summit in Singapore next month as to how ASEAN is going to translate into action its “revulsion” at the bloody suppression of the saffron revolution last month and the continuing reign of terror in Burma, or whether 40th ASEAN anniversary which is to culminate in the signing of an ASEAN Charter would prove to be empty and meaningless occasion.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman