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Malaysia and ASEAN must do more to impress on the Myanmese military junta to seek a peaceful solution to the “saffron revolution” and not to turn it into a bloodbath as in 1988
(Parliament, Wednesday) : Malaysia and ASEAN must do more to impress on the Myanmese military junta to seek a peaceful solution to the “saffron revolution” and not to turn it into a bloodbath as in 1988.
Malaysia and ASEAN must come into the very forefront in regional and international efforts to support a peaceful resolution of the monk-led mass protest marches in Rangoon and Mandalay especially as ASEAN had given the Myanmar military junta a new legitimacy and fresh lease of life by admitting Myanmar into ASEAN ten years ago.
However, the Myanmar military junta’s promises of national reconciliation and democratization have all come to naught in the past decade, with increasing repression and pauperization of the Burmese people while the constitution-writing and elections appear to have become a century-long project.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has been incarcerated about 12 of the past 18 years while the prisons teem with political prisoners.
Every ASEAN leader taking part in the current United Nations General Assembly debate should use the forum to call on the Myanmar military junta to open up a dialogue with the protest movement to work out an acceptable programme of national reconciliation and democratization – starting with the immediate and unconditional release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners.
They should also demand that the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should personally take a more direct charge of the UN initiatives with regard to issues of democracy and human rights in Burma, instead of leaving it to his special adviser Ibrahim Gambari who has nothing to show for his portfolio to date.
ASEAN should also get the support of China, India, Russia, United States and European Union in its diplomatic initiatives to avoid any bloody end and to work for a peaceful solution to the “saffron revolution”.
The Myanmar military junta is to be commended for its restraint so far in not resorting to force to crush the protest marches and it must be told in no uncertain terms of ASEAN and international condemnation if there is any repeat of the 1988 bloodbath.
As time is of the essence, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting in the United Nations tomorrow should send a full delegation of ASEAN Foreign Ministers to Myanmar to help open up a channel for dialogue with the protest movement so that Myanmar and ASEAN would not suffer vilification in the event of another massacre of monks, students and ordinary Burmese peacefully protesting against two decades of oppression, human rights violations and economic servitude.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman