Failure of Razali’s 11th mission to Burma has imperilled the grand vision of an ASEAN community - the ASEAN Bali Summit should either defer indefinitely Bali Concord II or Myanmar should be excluded from the new Asean Charter
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): The failure of the 11th mission to Burma of the United Nations envoy Tan Sri Razali Ismail, returning empty-handed unable to secure the release of Burmese Opposition Leader, Aung San Suu Kyi or to break the political deadlock between the military junta and the opposition, has imperilled the grand vision of the ASEAN Bali Summit to usher in a paradigm shift in Asean development to become an Asean community.
The Bali Concord II, which is to be signed by the ASEAN leaders at the 9th ASEAN Summit in Bali early next week, is to seal a new charter to mark a major change for the regional grouping founded in 1967 from an intergovernmental organization into a community of regional states.
The Asean community envisaged by Bali Concord II will be based on “three pillars”, the Asean Economic Community (AEC), the Asean Security Community (ASC) and the Asean Social and Cultural Community to spearhead economic integration, political and security co-operation and a caring society of the Asean countries..
With the failure of the latest Razali mission, which also represents an Asean and United Nations failure to nudge Myanmar towards political normalcy, national reconciliation and responsible international conduct, the conclusion of the Bali Concord II with Myanmar as a founder member to proclaim the concept of an ASEAN community will be a blatant contradiction of words and deeds and reduce both the Asean Summit and the Bali Concord II into an international farce.
The credibility, integrity and legitimacy of Asean is at stake. The ASEAN summiteers in Bali should either defer indefinitely the sealing of the Bali Concord II to proclaim an Asean community until regional conditions are more conducive with meaningful democratization in Burma, the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners as well as tangible results in the “roadmap to democracy”, or Myanmar should be excluded from Bali Concord II so as not to imperil both its import and impact.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman