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ASEAN should send high-level delegation to Myanmar to ascertain the actual death toll from the bloody military crackdown of monks-led peaceful protests, seek release of all detained monks and protestors (including Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners) and broker peaceful dialogue with all stakeholders in Burma
(Tawau, Sunday) : ASEAN should send a high-level delegation to Myanmar to ascertain the actual death toll from the bloody military crackdown of the monks-led peaceful protests as it is not only Myanmar but all ASEAN member nations which are directly affected by the savage suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations in Myanmar.
The Myanmese military junta has officially admitted to 10 dead three days ago which has no credibility whatsoever.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said that the loss of life in Burma is far greater than is being reported while the Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer claimed that the death toll is “substantially higher” than the official Myanmese figure and could be in multiples of ten higher, i.e. over 100 dead.
Dissident groups estimate close to 200 people have been killed by government forces.
Malaysia and all the other ASEAN nations cannot be impervious to the actual death toll in the carnage in Burma in the past four days.
As the Myanmar military junta had promised to usher in national reconciliation and democratization on its admission into ASEAN ten years ago in 1997, ASEAN and its member nations must be concerned about the actual death toll in Burma as equally at stake are the international reputation, credibility and even legitimacy of ASEAN and its member nations.
As Myanmar had been admitted into ASEAN in the teeth of regional and international opposition, ASEAN member nations cannot sit by the sidelines to wait for the outcome of the visit to Myanmar by the United Nations special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari but must undertake its own initiatives.
The least ASEAN can do is to send a high-level delegation to ascertain the actual death toll from the bloody military crackdown of the monks-led peaceful protests, seek release of all detained monks and protestors (including Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners) and broker a peaceful dialogue with all stakeholders in Burma.
If the Myanmar military junta is not prepared to entertain the visit of a ASEAN high-level delegation, then ASEAN must send a clear and unequivocal message that Myanmar is not welcome to the ASEAN gatherings, including the 13th ASEAN Summit scheduled for Singapore next month.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman