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Process to suspend Myanmar from ASEAN should begin if Syed Hamid is not allowed a free and unfettered visit to Myanmar, including meeting Aung San Suu Kyi, by March 15


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The process to suspend Myanmar from ASEAN should begin if  the Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar  is unable to carry out the ASEAN mandate to have  a free and unfettered visit to Myanmar, including meeting jailed  Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, by March 15, to assess on behalf of ASEAN the position of democratization and national reconciliation nine years after joining the regional organization.

The reason given for  the Myanmar military government decision to put off Hamid Albar’s visit this month – that it is too busy relocating its capital to Pyinmanar – must rank as one of the most lame diplomatic excuses in ASEAN diplomatic history. 


If the Myanmar military junta is serious and sincere about the concerns of ASEAN, the United Nations and the international community about the total lack of progress in democratization and national reconciliation not only during Myanmar’s nine years in ASEAN but for the past 17 years, it would have clarified the suitable timing for Syed Hamid Albar’s visit  to Myanmar and not lead everyone up the garden’s path about a January trip until the first week of the month or continue to refuse to be committed about the actual date for the visit decided at the ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur last month.


It would appear that the Myanmese military junta is treating Syed Hamid Albar as an unwelcome visitor instead of as the special envoy  of ASEAN Summit Leaders for a full fact-finding visit to Myanmar.


The resignation of Tan Sri Razali Ismail as the Special United Nations Envoy to Myanmar in frustration at  the stonewalling and obstructionist tactics by the Myanmar military junta, refusing him entry to Myanmar for nearly two years, is a somber and salutary reminder that a  tougher ASEAN position on the Myanmar question  is very long overdue.


There should be a clear  understanding among  the ASEAN governments,  leaders, Parliamentarians and civil society opinion  that if Syed Hamid is not allowed free and unfettered visit to Myanmar by mid-March, including unhampered contacts and discussions with Aung San Suu Kyi, ASEAN must adopt a strong and tough stand  on Myanmar by sending out a clear message to the Myanmese military junta that “Enough  Is Enough”!


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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