Malaysian Parliament should be the “conscience of ASEAN” and lead ASEAN Parliaments by adopting an an all-party emergency resolution for Myanmar’s exclusion from 9th ASEAN Summit in Bali on Oct. 7-8 and suspension from ASEAN unless Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners are released by end of the month
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The Malaysian Parliament should be the “conscience of ASEAN” and lead ASEAN Parliaments by adopting an all-party emergency resolution for Myanmar’s exclusion from 9th ASEAN Summit in Bali, Indonesia on Oct. 7-8, 2003 and suspension from ASEAN unless Burmese Opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and other Burmese political prisoners are released by end of this month.
It is most deplorable that plans by the United Nations special envoy, Tan Sri Razali Ismail to visit Myanmar in mid-September have been scrapped and the Myanmese military junta should be censured by all the other ASEAN nations for its obstructive diplomacy although Razali has tried to put up a bold front, maintaining that the junta should be given a chance to implement its so-called “roadmap to democracy” and that he hoped to be in Myanmar “as soon as it is possible to both sides to work out a date”.
If the Myanmese military junta is serious and sincere in wanting to respect ASEAN and United Nations opinion and concerns about democratization, national reconciliation and meaningful political dialogues in Burma, a mutually acceptable date could be arranged for Razali to fly to Yangon within 24 hours as Myanmar is not at the other side of the globe – but if there is no bona fide, it may not be able to find a suitable time in 24 days, when ASEAN leaders would be gathering in Bali for the 9th ASEAN Summit.
ASEAN and world opinion must take the Myanmar military junta’s roadmap to democracy with considerable skepticism. There is no timetable for the seven-point roadmap when it was announced by the new Myanmar Prime Minister Khin Nyunt on August 30, but even more serious, it would have to be dismissed as a sham when Aung San Suu Kyi continues to be under re-detention, having been incarcerated for over a hundred days for what the Myanmese military junta had told the world was for her protective custody and “temporary”.
The Myanmese military junta is clearly stalling for time until after the 9th ASEAN Summit in Bali on Oct. 7-8, when ASEAN and international pressures on it would again decrease. It must not be allowed to continue to “play games” with Razali and ASEAN, undermining the regional organisation’s international standing and credibility by refusing to heed ASEAN and international opinion for Aung San Suu Kyi’ immediate and unconditional release and democratization.
All the other ASEAN governments should send a clear and united message that the Myanmar military junta would not be welcomed to the 9th ASEAN Summit in Bali unless it is prepared to start behaving as a responsible member of ASEAN and the international community, signaling that Myanmar’s exclusion and suspension from the Bali Summit would lead to its expulsion from ASEAN as intimated by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in July.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman