Mahathir’s visit to Yangon great disappointment as military junta’s  veto of meeting  with Aung Sun Suu Kyi  shows that Malaysia has minimal or even no  influence with SPDC  to promote democratisation 12 years after  military coup

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The recent visit by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to Myanmar is a great disappointment as the military junta’s veto of any meeting with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whether with him or the Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, shows that the Malaysian Government has minimal or even no influence with the ruling  State Peace and Development Council (SPDC)  to promote democratization and national reconciliation. 

How can the Malaysian Government have much influence to move the  SPDC  purposefully towards democratization and national reconciliation in Myanmar 12 years after the military junta had nullified the 1990 general elections won by Suu Kyi’s National League of Democracy, when the Malaysian Prime Minister could not even get to meet Suu Kyi although he is regarded as “a trusted friend and adviser to the junta”?

Before Mahathir’s visit, the diplomatic grapevines and the  mass media were abuzz with the possibility of a “landmark meeting” and “historic political dialogue”  with Suu Kyi. During the visit, the National League of Democracy said Hamid cancelled a breakfast meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi  without explanation,

Mahathir’s speech in Yangon that democracy “should be handled with care or the end result might be anarchy” appears to be nothing more than self-serving apologia  and justification for the Myanmese military junta’s foot-dragging to restore democracy after  12 long years military dictatorship . 

What is beginning to disturb the international society is whether Malaysia is placing self-interests of closer  economic ties and co-operation with the  Myanmese military junta above its regional and international responsibilities to promote democratization and national reconciliation in Myanmar. 

There should be the  fullest transparency in all aspects of the Malaysia-Myanmese economic and business relationship, including the business interests of the United Nations Special Envoy and  former Malaysian diplomat, Tan Sri Razali Ismail, or the the Malaysian government and Razali run the risk of jeopardizing their credibility in their handling of the Myanmar issue if their economic links and ties with the Myanmese junta run ahead or  are perceived/seen to overshadow  diplomatic progress to  restore democracy and national reconciliation in  Myanmar. 


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman