Myanmar military junta should be suspended from ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh on June 16-17 if Aung San Suu Kyi and her associates are not immediately released, universities and colleges re-opened and a road map for restoration of democracy unveiled
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Monday): Malaysia and ASEAN cannot remain silent on the expanding crackdown by Myanmar’s military junta in detaining Burmese Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and 19 members of her party, the closure of six more offices of the National League for Democracy (NLD) after shutting down its Yangon headquarters, the house arrest of many NLD leaders as well as the indefinite closure of universities and colleges.
The Myanmar military junta should be suspended from the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh on June 16-17 if Aung San Suu Kyi and her associates are not immediately released, universities and colleges re-opened and a road map for restoration of democracy in Burma unveiled.
The Myanmese military junta has failed the international society in not honouring its commitment when the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was released on May 6 last year after a 19-month house arrest to start "a new page for the people of Myanmar and the international community" by restoring democracy and inaugurating national reconciliation to end the country’s international isolation.
For the past year, Suu Kyi remained shackled with no political dialogue or any effort at reconciliation by the military junta, and the United Nations estimates 1,100-1,200 political prisoners still languish in Myanmar’s colonial era gaols. Now, Aung San Suu Kyi has again become a prisoner of the military regime, which claims that she is staying at a "safe place" in Yangon after being brought from Burma's north, as she has not been taken to her family's lakeside villa, where she was previously held under house arrest.
ASEAN should send a fact-finding mission into Friday’s clashes in northern Myanmar between Suu Kyi’s supporters and pro-junta protestors that left four people dead and 50 injured.
With the latest crackdown in Burma, what could be accomplished by the five-day visit of the United Nations envoy to Burma, Tan Sri Razali Ismail, to Yangon from Friday to kickstart a political dialogue between the military junta and Aung San Suu Kyi? May be the time has come for Razali to resign his UN post as a strong protest against the intransigence of the Myanmar military junta and prelude to an ASEAN suspension of Myanmar from the regional organization.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman