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.