(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): Malaysia and the other ASEAN nations should protest against the Burmese military junta’s latest clampdown on the freedom of movement of Burmse opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, spent a fourth day yesterday in her car at the southwestern village of Anyarsu about 64 km (20 miles) from Rangoon to protest against the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) moves to stop her from meeting her party members.
She has refused to budge from the spot where she was stopped by authorities early on Friday and has rejected a request by the ruling junta to return to her home in Rangoon.
The NLD issued a statement saying there was some cause for concern over the health of Suu Kyi and U Hla Pe, the NLD's central executive member, as they had been under unlawful restrictions since early Friday.
The Burmese military junta came to power after crushing pro-democracy demonstrations in 1988. It recently has clamped down on opponents since Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi set an Aug. 21 deadline for the government to allow the national assembly elected in 1990 to convene. Suu Kyi's NLD swept the election, but the military refused to recognize the results.
As an important step towards restoring democracy in Burma, the other ASEAN governments should support the call by Aung San Suu Kyi for the convening of Parliament before Aug 21 and send a special ASEAN observer mission to Burma to ensure that there would be no worsening of the political, economic and social conditions in Burma which could undermine regional stability and hinder efforts by the South East Asian countries to recover from the worst economic crisis in recent history.