ASEAN govts must warn Myanmar military – another bloodbath ala-1988 completely unacceptable

With the Myanmar military junta threatening a crackdown as some 100,000 demonstrators led by barefoot Buddhist monks staged in Yangon yesterday the country’s largest anti-government protest since a failed democratic uprising nearly 20 years ago, ASEAN governments and leaders cannot continue to be on the sidelines and must move quick and fast.

All the nine ASEAN governments must urgently send a clear and unequivocal message to the Myanmar military junta that a crackdown and bloodbath revisiting the 1988 massacre in Burma is totally unacceptable and incompatible with responsible membership of ASEAN and the United Nations.

A repeat of the 1988 bloodbath with some 3,000 people killed by the military would be an unmitigated disaster for Myanmar and ASEAN, casting a pall on the 13th ASEAN Summit in Singapore on Nov. 20-21 and plunging the regional organization into its worst crisis in 40 years.

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary ASEAN, 2007 should be a year to celebrate another major stride in the development of ASEAN with the adoption of an ASEAN Charter incorporating human rights protection for the people of ASEAN.

A bloodbath in Myanmar will not only smash these high and noble ASEAN hopes into smithereens, but also highlight the fatal mistake ten years ago in admitting Myanmar into ASEAN when the military junta had no intention whatsoever to honour its undertaking to work towards national reconciliation and democratization in the country.

China – and in particular the Beijing Olympic Games 2008 — and India will not be able to escape adverse international repercussions of a bloodbath in Myanmar as they will be blamed for giving support to the Myanmar military junta and turning a blind eye to the bloody crackdown in the country.

ASEAN, China and India must co-ordinate and work out a common strategy to ensure that the peaceful protests and demonstrations by monks, nuns and all sectors of the Burmese people are resolved peacefully without violence, paving the way towards national reconciliation and democratization in Burma.

The Malaysian Cabinet tomorrow should take a bold and courageous stand, expressing sympathy and support for the peaceful protests and calling on the Myanmese military junta not to resort to violence but to work out a peaceful solution to the Burmese crisis involving the immediate release of Nobel Peace Prize Laureatte Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners and their participation in a transitional National Reconciliation Government.

Malaysian Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, should be instructed to play a leading and activist role both in ASEAN and the United Nations to formulate a strategy together with China, India, United States and European Union to ensure a peaceful and non-violent resolution to the Burmese crisis.

  1. #1 by Godfather on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 - 9:58 am

    All the ASEAN governments are hypocrites when it comes to democracy in Myanmar. The biggest hypocrite is of course Singapore who continues to exploit Myanmar’s resources. Bolehland exploits Myanmar’s cheap labour.

    The only country that can, and will, warn the military junta in Myanmar against doing anything foolish is the US. Syed Hamid ? He is representative of a “see-no-evil, hear-no-evil” regime.

  2. #2 by ADAM YONG IBNI ABDULLAH on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 - 10:31 am

    i am not suggesting that Malaysians ( regardless of race n religion ) would stage a peaceful march against Corrupt Government Ministers and of the Judiciary . neither am i suggesting that ministers in Malaysia resigned on accountability of mistakes and abuse of public trust placed on them.


    HOWEVER, i am feeling absolutely proud of the monks in Myanmar taking onto the streets PEACEFULLY with the women and children in the frontline to protest against what they term as Dictatorialship in their country.

    what makes the monks decide to go on the peaceful march ?

    and if the barrel of the guns will to mow down 1000, 3000 monks or so- the country will be in total anarchy.

    YB LIM,

    2007 is not 1998.

    ten years ago, the people of Burma than , and now have emerge into a force of clearly different thinking. i always wonder what had SYU-ki done to warrant house arrest. and what had the Junta did for the period that makes Burmese better .

    warlords of any country since the days of the mankind , will always fall to the mighty citizens.


    never underestimate the POWER OF the ordinary folks.

  3. #3 by Jimm on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 - 10:33 am

    Burma to Myanmar …
    This country have not been discover for any natural resources like oils, gold or other commodities which are highly traded for.
    As for Malaysia, we normally just make some formal ‘noise’ over several political issues that the world are watching over Myanmar’s affairs.
    It’s going to be a very different in complete of the truth behind all these mad war ..

  4. #4 by sheriff singh on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 - 10:39 am

    Malaysia has always shied away from criticising or taking firm action against Myanmar or anyone of similar size (exception : the little red dot down under). We only make empty talk but talk is cheap.

    The junta in Myanmar needs to be replaced and thre’s a possibility it will be done this time. Will the Burmese people’s effort this time be successful or will it be in vain?

  5. #5 by k1980 on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 - 10:47 am

    The REAL Bumis
    The Negritos are believed to be the first Orang Asli to set foot on the Malay peninsula. According to Rashid Esa, an Orang Asli researcher, Negritos were tough people and it is believed they walked from Africa to Australia. “It is believed that some stopped and settled down here. DNA testing would show that the Negritos in Malaya are related to Africans.”

  6. #6 by Godfather on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 - 10:50 am

    RPK’s blog is down for the second day. Has the DOS attack been motivated or triggered by fears of the Black & White March to Putrajaya called for tomorrow ?

  7. #7 by k1980 on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 - 10:56 am

    General elections fast approaching, so the sandiwara ala Eric Cheah, Kasitah Gaddam starts all over again

  8. #8 by justice6 on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 - 11:40 am

    malaysia-today blog site got DOS attack?

  9. #9 by tan368 on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 - 12:20 pm

    What has happened to RPK’s Malaysia-today blog today? I have been trying to login to it since 9 am today but failed to do so.

  10. #10 by Kit on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 - 1:53 pm

    Myanmar junta warns against more protests
    3 hours ago

    YANGON (AFP) — Myanmar’s military regime warned its people Tuesday not to join a swelling nationwide protest movement that has escalated into the most potent threat to their hardline rule in nearly 20 years.

    Local government officials using loudspeakers rode trucks through central Yangon warning against new anti-junta protests, a day after Buddhist monks led 100,000 people onto the streets of the country’s biggest city.

    State media bluntly ordered the monks to stay clear of politics, mirroring government threats of a crackdown carried on state television late Monday.

    Analysts said Chinese pressure has helped prevent a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests but China cannot restrain its allies in Yangon indefinitely, .

    Myanmar’s military government, which usually comes down hard on challenges to its rule, has so far done little more than stand by as the protests swelled into the biggest threat to its authority in 20 years.

    Although state media and officials Tuesday warned against further rallies, observers attribute the junta’s restraint thus far partly to the influence of Beijing.

    China has been vital in keeping the regime afloat through its trade ties, arms sales and by protecting it against UN sanctions for alleged human rights abuses.

    But earlier this month, Beijing — wary of being associated with bloodshed that could tarnish its status as hosts of next year’s Olympic Games — urged Myanmar to maintain “stability” in the current crisis.

    The message, delivered to visiting Myanmar Foreign Minister U Nyan Win, was widely viewed as an appeal for restraint.

    More protests were still expected Tuesday, again led by the clergy whose revered status has made them rallying figures for public anger that erupted more than one month ago after a crippling hike in fuel prices.

    “We warn the monks and the people not to participate in protest marches,” local government officials shouted as they circled around the nation’s commercial hub.

    “We will take action under the existing law,” they said.

    The BBC’s Burmese Section reported marches in central Mandalay and Mogok towns, as well as in western Sittwe and Kyauktaung in the far south near the Thai-Myanmar border.

    Rallies representing the biggest challenge to junta rule in nearly two decades have spread around the country, with protests reported as far away as the northern tip of Myanmar and near the western border with Bangladesh.

    Myanmar’s official media confirmed Tuesday that protests have taken place in seven of the nation’s 14 provinces, but gave no details.

    The official New Light of Myanmar newspaper, a government mouthpiece, said that all clergy “are directed to avoid getting involved in party politics and instigation.”

    State media said protests had taken place in seven of the 14 provinces, and accused foreign media of instigating the marches.

    Monday’s protests in Yangon were the biggest public show of dissent here since student-led rallies in 1988 were brutally repressed. There were marches also in the central city of Mandalay, the oil town of Sittwe and elsewhere.

    The warnings came as world leaders urged the regime to show restraint and were expected to use the annual general debate at the UN General Assembly, opening Tuesday in New York, to push for democratic reforms.

    The White House said US President George W. Bush would use his speech there to announce new US sanctions on key regime figures and their backers.

    US National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said the sanctions would include a visa ban on certain individuals and their families, and financial sanctions.

    Hadley said Bush would urge other countries to join in a campaign “to try and force the regime into a change.”

    Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, urged regime leaders “who believe in Buddhism to act in accordance with the sacred dharma in the spirit of compassion and non-violence.”

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Myanmar authorities “to continue to exercise restraint.”

    The generals have normally been tough on dissent, and their 1988 crackdown left hundreds — if not thousands — dead.

    Analysts believe the junta has held back so far for fear that any violence against monks in this devoutly Buddhist nation would spark a huge outcry.

    Late Monday, however, Myanmar’s religion minister, Brigadier General Thura Myint Maung, issued a warning to senior clergy.

    “If the monks go against the rules and regulations in the authority of the Buddhist teachings, we will take action under the existing law,” he was quoted as saying by state television.

    Pictures of the protests — monks, often barefoot, shielded by supporters and chanting and praying — have gone around the world, opening a rare window on a nation whose regime normally crack down hard on any sign of protest.

    The monks and their supporters in Yangon walked by the offices of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), which won elections in 1990 but was never allowed to govern.

    NLD officials came out to pay respects and then join the marchers, many of whom fixed small strips of the monks’ robes onto their own shirts.

    In a surprise move on Saturday, armed police allowed about 2,000 monks and civilians to pray outside Aung San Suu Kyi’s home, and she stepped out in tears to greet the crowd.

    However riot police have again imposed a blockade there since Sunday, with state television saying the rally outside her lakeside home had “complicated” the situation.

  11. #11 by devilmaster on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 - 7:16 pm


    UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – President George W. Bush is set to announce new U.S. sanctions against Myanmar over human rights as the annual U.N. General Assembly gathering of world leaders gets under way on Tuesday.

    Bush is one of the first speakers on a list that later features Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and diplomats will be watching to see if the leaders of the two bitterly hostile countries cross paths or exchange words.

    But despite the United States leading efforts for more U.N. sanctions against Iran to curtail its nuclear program, Bush will only make a brief mention of Tehran in his speech, the White House said.

    “The speech is not about Iran,” spokeswoman Dana Perino said. “The speech is about liberation and how liberation from poverty, disease, hunger, tyranny and oppression and ignorance can lift people up out of poverty and despair.”

    Bush will advocate supporting groups in Myanmar that are trying to advance freedom and announce new sanctions directed at key members of the military rulers and their financial supporters, said White House national security adviser Stephen Hadley.

    “He’s going to talk about the importance of continuing to support the humanitarian organizations that are trying to deal with the needs of the people of Burma on the ground,” he said, using Myanmar’s former name.

    Buddhist monks were joined by tens of thousands of protesters on marches in Myanmar on Monday in the biggest demonstration against the ruling generals since they crushed student-led protests nearly 20 years ago.

    “Our hope is to marry that internal pressure with some external pressure — coming from the United States, the United Nations, and really all countries committed to freedom — to try and force the regime into a change,” Hadley said.

  12. #12 by on Wednesday, 26 September 2007 - 12:26 am

    Adam Yong,

    You mentioned “never underestimate the POWER OF the ordinary folks.”

    The average Joe on the street that I’ve met – say 9 out of 10 – doesn’t seem to give a damn to what’s happening in Myanmar. About the same % also don’t read the alternative media too.

    Is this an accurate statement?

You must be logged in to post a comment.