(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): ASEAN government should strongly protest another "black eye" for ASEAN by Myanmese military junta’s continued harassment of Nobel Peace Laureate and Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi , who is currently detained for the seventh day at a military roadblock on a road leading out of Rangoon.
Aung San Suu Kyi was stopped by government forces on August 24, en route to a National League for Democracy (NLD) Party meeting outside the capital.
So far, Thailand is the only ASEAN country which has expressed concern over the stand-off with the Thai Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan warning that it could tarnish the image of ASEAN which admitted Myanmar in 1997.
When asked if Burma's admission into the Asean family had been a mistake, given that little has changed in the military-ruled country, Surin said all sides acknowledged there were disputes in Burma which would have to be resolved in order to prevent further erosion of confidence within Asean.
Malaysia cannot stand by the sidelines to allow ASEAN to suffer another bout of adverse international publicity especially as the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has added his voice to international concerns for a quick peaceful resolution of the current stand-off and the UN special envoy on Burma is a Malaysian - Tan Sri Razali Ismail.
There should be a two-pronged action, with Razali Ismail on-the-spot in Burma to intervene directly with the military junta to respect the freedom of movement of Aung San Suu Kyi while the Foreign Minister, Datuk Syed Hamid Albar should summon the Myanmese Ambassador to convey to him the gravity of adverse international reactions to the stand-off not only to the Myanmese State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) but to ASEAN as a whole.
If the political stalemate continues, a meeting of ASEAN Foreign Ministers
should be convened to pressure the Myanmese military junta to agree to
a specific timetable for national reconciliation and the restoration of
democracy where the two sides can begin to engage in
a substantive political dialogue in line with the series of resolutions
adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations
Human Rights Commission.