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Myanmar forgoing ASEAN Chair 2006 the minimum expected of Vientiane AMM – no occasion for celebration but should be encouragement for ASEAN Parliamentarians and civil society to re-strategise to strive for meaningful democratization in Burma in the next 18 months
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The forgoing of ASEAN Chair 2006 by the Myanmar military junta is the minimum that is expected of the Vientiane ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM).
After the mobilization and rising crescendo of regional opinion by ASEAN Parliamentarians and the civil society for the past year, representing the strongest objection to Myanmar’s takeover of the ASEAN Chair 2006 without any meaningful progress in democratization and national reconciliation in Burma such as the immediate and unconditional release of Burmese Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the over 1,000 political prisoners in the Myanmar jails, any other result from the Vientiane AMM would be completely unacceptable.
Whether in the longer term, the Vientiane development would be a positive contribution to the democratization of Burma is still to be seen.
This is the time for all who are concerned about democratization and national reconciliation in Burma to give serious consideration to what ASEAN Secretary-General Ong Keng Yong said in June could be the “downside” if Myanmar is out of the ASEAN Chair - . with Myanmar out of the radar scope for the next one or two years - by ensuring that there would no such “downside” effect.
It is therefore no occasion for celebration but should be encouragement for ASEAN Parliamentarians, the ASEAN civil society and even ASEAN governments to re-strategise to strive for meaningful results for democratization in Burma in the next 12 to 18 months.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman