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International Conference on Democracy in Burma before the two Summits in Kuala Lumpur at end of the year to re-strategise and formulate new approaches to promote democracy in Myanmar
(Parliament, Wednesday): The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) has achieved its founding objective to deny the ASEAN Chair 2006 to Myanmar unless there are meaningful democratic reforms and progress in national reconciliation, with the Vientiane ASEAN Ministerial Meeting announcement that Myanmar will forgo the ASEAN Chair 2006 in favour of the Philippines.
Credit must go to ASEAN Parliamentarians in Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia who had banded together for the common purpose to work for democratization and national reconciliation in Burma.
But the work for democracy in Burma has not ended. In fact, it has hardly begun.
The next step is the more difficult one - to help to bring about the democratization and national reconciliation process and to see tangible progress in the next six to 18 months, especially the release of Burmese Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the over 1,000 political prisoners in Myanmar jails.
The AIPMC should seriously consider convening an international conference bringing together all forces and movements supportive of democratization and national reconciliation in Burma in the East and the West to re-strategise and formulate a new policy to achieve what had eluded both the “constructive engagement” approach of ASEAN and sanctions approach of Western countries for the past one-and-a-half decades.
Such an international conference should be held before the ASEAN Summit and the inaugural East Asia Summit both to be held in Kuala Lumpur at the end of the year, so that a new Myanmar policy could be put into practice at both these summits.
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