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Malaysian Parliament should clear the decks for a full-fledged debate on the Burmese situation on Monday if Razaliís 11th trip to Burma fails to move the Myanmese military junta to immediately release Aung San Suu Kyi and vote on a consensus motion to call for exclusion of Myanmar from ASEAN Bali Summit


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling JayaWednesday): The Malaysian Parliament should clear the decks for a full-fledged debate on the Burmese situation on Monday if United Nations Special Envoy  Tan Sri  Razali Ismailís 11th trip to Burma fails to move the Myanmese military junta to immediately release Burmese Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi and vote on  a consensus motion to call for exclusion of Myanmar from ASEAN Bali Summit on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

At the inaugural ASEAN Lecture ďASEAN Today: Challenges and ResponsesĒ on the occasion of the 36th Anniversary of ASEAN in August this year, Indonesian  President Megawarti Sukarnoputri said ASEAN had proven itself to be an effective instrument for peace and socio-economic progress in Southeast Asia and the larger Asia-Pacific region. 

All this has been threatened by the intransigence and obstinate refusal by the Myanmese military junta to be an ASEAN team player by respecting regional and international opinion and aspirations for  peace, human rights and democracy.  As a result, from a two-tiered organization with the ASEAN-six comprising its first six members and a lower tier made of  its four latest members, ClMV (i.e. Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam), there could be a  third tier presently  with the sole rogue state of Myanmar. 

This will make ASEAN lose all coherence and international credibility.

All ASEAN leaders should  make unmistakably clear  to Myanmar that  Razaliís current trip and the military juntaís response to his latest endeavour to restart the long-stalled political dialogue process with the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi  represent its  last chance to prevent the exclusion of Myanmar from the ASEAN Bali Summit on Oct. 7 Ė 8.

After the unmitigated failure of Razaliís June visit to Yangon,  where a trip meant to restart the stalled political dialogue in Burma to bring about national reconciliation between the military junta, the National League for Democracy and the ethnic minorities was completely derailed to one to desperately  save the ďfaceĒ of the United Nations just to get access to the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate who was by then again behind bars, nobody can be sanguine about Razaliís latest journey to Burma.  

After the more spirited stand of the  ASEAN Foreign Ministersí Meeting in Phonm Penh in June to show that ASEAN is not the weakest link in providing support to the United Nations and its special envoy to pressure the Myanmar military junta to respect international opinion and the fundamental rights of the Burmese for democratization and national reconciliation, ASEAN leaders should not let up on the pressure on Myanmar in the final week of  run-up to the ASEAN Summit in Bali on Oct. 7 -8. 

If Razaliís visit to Yangon is another unmitigated failure and Suu Kyi is not immediately and unconditionally released from her new house arrest, the Myanmese military junta must not be rewarded with a seat at the ASEAN Summit in Bali. ASEAN leaders must be strong enough to exclude Myanmar from the Bali ASEAN Summit and come out with a firm policy statement that Myanmarís seven-stage roadmap to democracy must be the result of a political dialogue after Suu Kyiís release and not the outcome of the  unilateral announcement by the military junta.

(1/10/2003)


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman