ASEAN MPs concerned about
democracy in Burma should sponsor motions for adoption by ASEAN Parliaments
to call for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political
prisoners to avert ASEAN diplomatic disasters whether the ASEM Summit in
Hanoi in October or 2006 ASEAN Summit
Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament House, Wednesday): The bleak prospect for democracy in Myanmar as envisioned by United Nations special envoy to Myanmar Tan Sri Razali Ismail in his comments the New Straits Times before briefing the Parliamentary Caucus on Democracy in Myanmar yesterday warrants deep and serious consideration by all Malaysian and ASEAN MPs concerned about democracy in Burma.
As reported by the New Straits Times, Razali said there is no indication yet on when the Myanmar Government is releasing Burmese Opposition Leader and Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and moving towards democratic reform.
It is clear that there is still no light at the end of the tunnel for democracy and national reconciliation despite over a decade of the failed ASEAN policy of “constructive engagement”.
ASEAN Members of Parliament concerned about democracy in Burma should sponsor motions for adoption by their respective Parliaments in ASEAN to call for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners to mount pressure on the Myanmese military junta to avert ASEAN diplomatic disasters whether the ASEM Summit between Asian and European leaders in Hanoi in October or the 2006 ASEAN Summit.
Time is running out if these two ASEAN diplomatic disasters are to be averted, as there are already two diplomatic setbacks, the cancellation of two Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Ministerial meetings - the sixth ASEM Finance Ministers’ Meeting in Brussels in July and the sixth ASEM Economic Ministers’ Meeting in Rotterdam on Sept. 16-17.
It is most regrettable that the 37th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in Jakarta was such a disappointment, allowing the Myanmese military junta to renege on multiple pledges to ASEAN leaders on democratisation and national reconciliation, such as:
The softening and abandonment of the ASEAN stand in insisting that the Myanmese military junta must “substantiate its path to democracy and reconciliation” by releasing Aung San Suu Kyi and other pro-democracy leaders from detention and engaging them in meaningful national reconciliation talks can only lead to the two ASEAN diplomatic disasters in Hanoi in October and July 2006 event when Myanmar takes over the rotating chair of ASEAN.
ASEAN Parliamentarians should seek to evolve an ASEAN consensus and will through parliamentary motions in the ASEAN Parliaments calling for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Myanmar, so that the Myanmese military junta is given a clear choice whether it wants to continue to be part of ASEAN community of nations or outside it.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman