Malaysia and ASEAN must make clear that they will not accord legitimacy to the May 17 Myanmar Constitution Convention unless Aung San Suu Kyi is freed before the Convention and the “road-map to democracy” leads to free national elections within two years
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Malaysia and ASEAN must make clear that they will not accord legitimacy to the May 17 Myanmar Constitution Convention unless Burmese pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is freed before the Convention and the “road-map to democracy” leads to free national elections within two years.
The eyes of the world are on Yangon, whether Monday’s scheduled convening of the Constitution Convention by the Myanmese military junta will represent a major change of heart towards democratization and national reconciliation or whether it is only the latest in a series of “one step forward, two steps backwards” diplomatic fox-trot to gain international legitimacy, particularly for Myanmar to preside over ASEAN and play host for the ASEAN Summit in 2006.
I spoke to the United Nations Special Envoy on Burma, Tan Sri Razali Ismail who remains hopeful that Aung San Suu Kyi would be released before Monday’s Convention. However, if the worst eventuality happens, this will not be the first time that Razali’s prognosis about Aung San Suu Kyi’s release going awry.
As the Malaysian Parliament is also meeting on Monday, Malaysian MPs regardless of political party, whether Barisan Nasional, DAP or Barisan Alternative, must be prepared to collectively respond if Myanmese military junta breaks its commitment to release Aung San Suu Kyi before the Convention.
DAP proposes the formation of a Malaysian parliamentary caucus on democracy in Myanmar, which should secure the support of all MPs concerned about democracy in Myanmar and ASEAN, to among other things liaise with its counterparts in the other ASEAN Parliaments to provide a strong and united common approach by ASEAN MPs to monitor, demand and ensure genuine democratization and national reconciliation in Myanmar.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor