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Call on ASEAN Parliaments to meet in emergency session within the next three days to express ASEAN “revulsion” at the killings in Myanmar and to call on China and Russia to condemn the violent crackdown and to support Security Council resolution for a tripartite national reconciliation dialogue in Myanmar under direct responsibility of UN Secretary-General
(Parliament, Saturday) : The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was shown on world-wide television expressing Malaysia’s “disapproval, together with other Asean countries, on the use of excessive force by the Myanmar government to put down justifiable civilian protests” in his speech at the 62nd General Assembly yesterday.
I commend Abdullah for speaking up in the United Nations although stronger language would have been more appropriate and fully justified in keeping with the “revulsion” earlier expressed by the foreign ministers of ASEAN at the UN “over reports that the demonstrations in Myanmar are being suppressed by violent force and that there has been a number of fatalities”.
Abdullah must feel a personal responsibility for the carnage taking place in Myanmar because he was the Foreign Minister ten years ago when Malaysia spearheaded the campaign to defy regional and international opinion to admit Myanmar into ASEAN in 1997, promising a constructive engagement policy which will lead to national reconciliation and democratization in Burma.
Ten years down the road, the Myanmar military junta’s promises of reform have turned to ashes and Burma is teetering on the edge of another bloodbath to repeat the massacre of 1988 where over 3,000 pro-democracy activists, students and supporters were mowed down by a brutal and inhuman military – a dark page in the history of mankind.
Compounding the bloody military crackdown of the monks-led peaceful demonstrators in the past three days are the newly-released satellite photos by the American Association for the Advancement of Science providing evidence of ethnic cleansing of the ethnic minority Karens in eastern Myanmar, destroying villages and relocating people in the countryside.
As a result, it is not adequate for ASEAN leaders just to “wash their hands” of responsibility of what is happening in Myanmar with expressions of “revulsion” and “disapproval”, or even admission as by Abdullah in New York yesterday that the Asean’s constructive engagement policy with the Myanmar military government had failed and the need to “ensure that Myanmar adheres and fulfils the regional grouping’s interest” - whatever that means.
The human tragedy being played out in Burma with human lives versus guns, with the courageous and long-suffering people of Burma trembling between the fear of another 1988 bloodbath and the hope of regaining their long-suppressed freedom and human rights, is a triple tragedy – for Burma, Asean and the world.
At this hour of need of the courageous and idealistic people of Burma, Asean and the world must do their utmost to ensure that there will not be another 1988 massacre.
Malaysia and ASEAN nations must act on their “revulsion” of the killings in Myanmar as part of a concerted international effort to enlist the support of China, Russia, India, the United States and the European Union to save Burma, Asean and the world from another carnage and bloodbath.
One measure which Malaysia and ASEAN can do to give expression to their “revulsion” to the killings in Myanmar and to make amends for the failure of a decade of Asean constructive engagement policy is for all ASEAN Parliaments to meet in emergency session within the next three days to:
With the real-life violent crackdown in Burma being played out before the audience of the world by television channels although the Myanmar military junta is shutting down Internet and telephonic communications, turning the Myanmar carnage into a global trauma, all Parliaments in the world should meet in emergency session to express a global call for an end to the killings by the Myanmar military junta.
I urge Abdullah to act from the United Nations and to take the initiative to convene an emergency meeting of Parliamemt by Tuesday to provide an opportunity for Malaysians regardless of race, religion or political affiliation to express their solidarity with peaceful demonstrations for reform and democracy in Burma, their revulsion at the carnage and demand for peaceful solution to the long-standing Burmese problem of national reconciliation and democratization.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman