11th ASEAN Summit in Putrajaya on December 2005 should give teeth to the July 2003 Mahathir warning of Myanmar’s expulsion from ASEAN by disqualifying the Myanmar military junta from the 2006 ASEAN Chair with Philippines taking over the position one year earlier
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament, Thursday): The statement by the Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Islamabad that Myanmar’s military rulers need to do more than talk about their plans for a return to democracy and show “visible movement” to reassure fellow Southeast Asian governments is long overdue and should represent the minimalist position of all the other nine ASEAN governments to demand a meaningful political dialogue and genuine democratisation in Myanmar.
The reconvening today of the much-postponed National Constitution Convention in Yangon, described as “perhaps the longest charter-writing exercise ever conducted on earth” since the start of the constitution-writing process in 1991, is the latest “sham of shams” indulged by the Myanmese military junta in the past 14 years.
The National Convention, the purported first of the junta’s seven-point Roadmap to Democracy, has absolutely no legitimacy or credibility, whether national, regional or international, when
The call by a seminar on the restoration of democracy in Burma in Kolkata on Monday for the establishment of an Indian All-Party Parliamentary Caucus on Burma is most timely, as ASEAN Parliamentarians have decided to form parliamentary caucus on democracy in Myanmar in the respective ASEAN countries under the Inter-ASEAN Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus which held its first working meeting in Jakarta early this month – three months after its inauguration at the Kuala Lumpur Myanmar Workshop last November.
The top concern of ASEAN Parliamentarians committed to the restoration of democracy in Myanmar must be the forthcoming 11th ASEAN Summit in Putrajaya on December 12-13 2005, which should not allow Myanmar to take over the 2006 ASEAN Chair unless the Myanmar military junta could show “visible” and “acceptable” movement and results in meaningful political dialogue, democratisation and national reconciliation in Myanmar.
In the next nine months, ASEAN Parliamentarians should unite with a common agenda in their respective Parliaments to give teeth to the July 2003 warning by the then Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad of Myanmar’s expulsion from ASEAN by taking the first step to disqualify the Myanmar military junta from the 2006 ASEAN Chair with Philippines (slated for the ASEAN Chair in 2007) taking over the position one year earlier unless Myanmar ceases to be a regional and international liability to the rest of ASEAN.
Lim Kit Siang,
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman