Malaysia should support suspension of Myanmar from ASEAN/UN if there is another 1988 bloodbath in Burma

The Myanmar military crackdown of the monks-led peaceful protests in Burma has started with unconfirmed reports of several deaths and hundreds of arrests.

The Myanmese military junta is also shutting off communication with the outside world, closing Internet and telephone links, which through blogs and cell phone videos of the latest developments, had been the main source of information of what is happening in Burma to the outsides world.

Malaysia and ASEAN leaders must be in the international forefront to condemn the violent crackdown of monks-led peaceful protests in Burma and even to support suspension of Myanmar from ASEAN and United Nations if there is a repeat of the 1988 bloodbath where thousands were massacred.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said in the United Nations yesterday that Malaysia does not believe in imposing economic sanctions against Myanmar as this will not affect the targeted group but will usually hurt ordinary citizens more.

He said any hard or aggressive action would be counter-productive at this stage.

He said: “We think the best way of resolving the issue is to get the constitutional process on track, to get the reconciliation going.”

It is time for Syed Hamid and all ASEAN leaders to stop such platitudes and respond in a responsible and statemanlike manner to the Burmese crisis, with Burma on the cusp of another 1988 bloodbath.

The people of ASEAN and the world want to know what ASEAN leaders can do to prevent another bloodbath by the Myanmar military junta as Myanmar had been admitted as a member of ASEAN precisely to undertake national reconciliation and democratization in Burma.

It is not only the Myanmar military junta but ASEAN as a whole which is in the dock of international opinion.

  1. #1 by MALAYSIAN8 on Thursday, 27 September 2007 - 5:14 pm

    trade sanction will not be relevant to the top echelon of the military junta.have the ASEAN members as well as the top brass of UN convey their stern protest to the recent development???this is a peaceful march led by the monks to be met by brutality.diplomacy does not have to be passive,right?

  2. #2 by k1980 on Thursday, 27 September 2007 - 5:41 pm

    Now, what if someone doctored the photo below with the faces of the CJ and Lingam? Will he be called in by the police like Nat Tan?

  3. #3 by Jong on Thursday, 27 September 2007 - 6:37 pm

    k1980, I think you are on the wrong thread?!

  4. #4 by Justicewanted on Thursday, 27 September 2007 - 8:52 pm

    “Malaysia should support suspension of Myanmar from ASEAN/UN if there is another 1988 bloodbath in Burma”

    Our PM is sleeping and does not know what is happening.

    If you ask him about Myanmar, the expected answer is “I will ask my Foreign Minister”

  5. #5 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 27 September 2007 - 9:00 pm

    Should support suspension from ASEAN and UN?? Making Myanmar a pariah state in the community of nations? What good will that do to the ordinary people of Myanmar?

    However, if by that is meant cutting off all international aid to that country, it is worth looking into. But know that all economic sanctions in the long term would only hurt the people of Myanmar and not the regime.

    This is a corrupt and dictatorial regime. Its military generals siphon off a lot of the international aid for their private use. Cutting off all major international aid to the regime right away would deprive these generals of their lucrative business.

    But really the long term solution would be to engage Myanmar in discussions, to convince them that it would not be to the regime’s advantage to continue with its rule of oppression, that it should allow the continued growth of socio-economic infrastructures needed for the growth of democracy.

    Who would have thought that Vietnam would be where it now is?

  6. #6 by Jong on Thursday, 27 September 2007 - 9:01 pm

    We do things our way, sure we are, Malaysia! Now aren’t we proud to be on the same league as Burma/Myanmar – they have the marching Monks, while we have Marching Lawyers?

    Meanwhile our zzzzz PM will continue to travelling overseas visiting countries with his new wife ignoring all the problems back home.

  7. #7 by taikohtai on Thursday, 27 September 2007 - 9:10 pm

    ASEAN should realise by now that their policy of treading softly softly and engagement of dialogues with the rogue state of Myanmar has FAILED. The Junta is the biggest drug warlord, so how will they ever listen to reason? SHAME on the past and present ASEAN leaders who chose to close a blind eye to the years of suffering of the Burmese people. Hopefully the Western countries will take up the cudgels and sock it to the dictators and hasten the restoration of democracy there.

  8. #8 by ablastine on Thursday, 27 September 2007 - 9:53 pm

    Other than Vietnam, all the other countries in Asean are but weaklings. Not so long ago most of Asean member countries were a colonised people living off the crumbs from the colonial masters. Can anyone really expect them to have any resillience and fighting spirit now that they got independence. However, Vietnam is a completely different story. They snubbed the French, humiliated the mighty Americans, held their own against the Chinese at their borders and kicked Pol Pot out of his killing fields in Cambodia. Now they are experiencing one of the fastest economic growth in the region. Asean must look upon Vietnam for a leadership role in this situation if they are to have any success at all in their affairs with Burma. If Vietnam gives Burma an ultimatium to have national reconciliation and dialogue with Ang SSY within a specific period or follows the fate of Pol Pot, the Myanmar Generals will be shitting their guts out and do what the Vietnamese bid ASAP. Can you imagine how silly Malaysia or Singapore or Thailand looks if they issue similar ultimatum! Nobody really give a damn what the rest of the countries in Asean says because they are, except for Vietnam ,really an inconsequential group. Really if Bush wants this issue to be resolved quickly all he needs to do is to send one of his aircraft carrier near to the coast of Myanmar and the General will run for cover. The world is using the wrong approach against a motley group of Criminals creaming off the riches of the entire country. They are not going to stop without some show of force. Talk is just cheap.

  9. #9 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 27 September 2007 - 10:12 pm

    With storm clouds gathering over the horizon (which is Myanmar) do not be surprised if Najib is considering beefing up our military with more state-of-the-art weapons.

    The stage is set for Altantuya No. 2.

  10. #10 by a-malaysian on Thursday, 27 September 2007 - 11:09 pm

    Yes indeed Malaysian Citizens and other Asian countries must support the suspension of Myanmar from ASEAN/UN if there is another 1988 bloodbath in Burma but sad to say the bn government will not be able to do so.

    Jong said:
    //We do things our way, sure we are, Malaysia! Now aren’t we proud to be on the same league as Burma/Myanmar – they have the marching Monks, while we have Marching Lawyers?//

    And the Myanmar military shoot at protesters and for our government worst still, they just shoot at people attending peaceful ceramah.

    So do you think our gomen can have any say about the Burmese regime of what they are doing?

    50 years is ENOUGH
    Vote For A Change
    Vote For Any Opposition
    Give Them A Chance To Change For A Better Malaysia
    Remember bn Is A Useless Grouping Of Self Serving, Corrupt, Dictator, Power Crazy, Racist, Kris waving, etc, etc type of parties.

  11. #11 by Jeffrey on Friday, 28 September 2007 - 4:59 am

    Hamid said in the UN that Malaysia does not believe in imposing economic sanctions (imposed by Bush) against Myanmar as this will not affect the targeted group but will usually hurt ordinary citizens more; he said any hard or aggressive action would be counter-productive at this stage.

    So what’s the solution? Constructive engagement? What results have ASEAN’s policy of constructive engagement brought?

    The last time in June 2006 Hamid went to Myanmar ASEAN envoy, he was snubbed by the ruling generals, denied access to detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Hamid himself said in press statement that ““I think they have treated us shabbily….There is lack of confidence in Myanmar on ASEAN; that Myanmar did not want ASEAN to play a bridging role. They don’t see fit for ASEAN to meet Aung San Suu Kyi. I have gone to Myanmar but they did not allow me to meet Aung San Suu Kyi and other political leaders..That is the way they deal with us”, he said.

    In context, Hamid’s remarks “We think the best way of resolving the issue is to get the constitutional process on track, to get the reconciliation going” are rightly described by YB Kit as “platitudes”. What kind of “constitutional process” can one put on track with Myanmar’s military junta who are basically gangsters enriched by narcotic trade ?

    Whilst it is true that ASEAN is principally an economic bloc concentrating on concerns over economics, trade and development in the region, it being part of international community, however, cannot however ignore international standards and norms relating to human rights and freedom and the legitimate demands of the Burmese people to self determination via democracy.

    If Myanmar leaders have proven themselves gangsters why continue to mollycoddle them within ASEAN group – just expel (not just suspend) it from the grouping? Perhaps the reason why ASEAN countries would not take a strong stance is that the governments of its member countries are not very much less authoritarian and would have also clamped down on protest marches by dissidents in their own countries….

  12. #12 by zack on Friday, 28 September 2007 - 7:13 am

    Like Ghandhi and Martin Luther King ….. civil disobedience is next maybe?

  13. #13 by Bigjoe on Friday, 28 September 2007 - 8:56 am

    Its time to just admit that ASEAN non-inteference policy in each other is limited. Like many of our policies, the non-interference policies worked opportunistically. It does not work anymore. As a long term policies, the only way for ASEAN to move forward is to agree on a common ever higher standards of rules and policies and hold each other to it.

    I say lets interfere in Burma and send troops in…

  14. #14 by Godfather on Friday, 28 September 2007 - 9:26 am

    ASEAN is just a grouping of police states – it’s a matter of varying degree, but the general traits are state control of the mainstream press, suppression of democracy and transparency, and using intimidatory tactics on the opposition.

    These people are cut from the same cloth.

  15. #15 by qiqi on Friday, 28 September 2007 - 9:43 am

    ‘…government of the people, by the people, for the people’ – Abraham Lincoln

  16. #16 by megaman on Friday, 28 September 2007 - 10:08 am

    ASEAN membership is nothing but a PR effort by the Myanmar military junta aimed at convincing the Myanmar local population that it is a legitimate government recognized by the region.

    The military junta is not serious in creating a true nation and country. The policy of self-isolation only serves to further their own interests which is more plunder of the country natural resources like oil, precious gemstones (rubies and emerald), timber and even narcotics (which is illegal and unofficial). The Tatmadaw generals are only interested in deepening their pockets and increasing their stranglehold on the country.

    ASEAN is really naive and stupid to include Myanmar as its member as it is very clear that the ruling junta has no intention at all to be a responsible member country. It is time to remove Myanmar from the membership list to give the ruling military junta more pressure and to return some credibility back to ASEAN.

    The military junta MUST STEP DOWN. *period*

    NO external military force should be used.
    No more Iraq or Afghanistan here. External military actions would only create more hardship and problems.

    NO economic sanctions should be used.
    The Myanmar people are already starving. Further economic sanctions would make the starvation worse.

    NO constructive engagement should be used.
    The military junta do not respond nor recognize constructive engagement. A stronger more definitive response is needed.

    YES military sanctions.
    Prevent military arms and supplies to reach the military junta so that they can’t use force against the people.

    YES peacekeeping missions and food aid.
    Get UN peacekeepers in. Prevent the military junta from bullying the people. Get food to the starving.

    YES to more peaceful protests and free Aung San Suu Kyi.
    As long as the Myanmar society and people are dissatisfied, let them march and protest until they get the change that they want.

    The Myanmar military junta is an ILLEGITIMATE government that is created by a military COUP DE TAT. An ILLEGITIMATE government must not be allowed to exist and must not be recognized at all.
    Enough is enough.

  17. #17 by HJ Angus on Friday, 28 September 2007 - 10:10 am

    Don’t think the BN wants the street protests to succeed as that could trigger off demos in our own capital.

    I heard on the BBC news that Singapore has the banking facilities of the top generals as so maybe the USA may persuade them to freeze those accounts.

  18. #18 by digard on Friday, 28 September 2007 - 10:37 am

    Since the silly idea of trying to talk to soldiers (generals) while they are firing live ammunition at demonstrators has ebbed down, here my take of it.

    China should step forward. If Hamid flew to Rangoon, and placed himself in front of the demonstrators, they might shoot at him as well.
    But not so if PRC took the initiative and sent their foreign minister. He could easily touch down in Rangoon, and drive to the generals first, and then to Aung San Suu Kyi. And the problem would be solved.
    He’d tell the generals to take cover and arrange with Aung San Suu Kyi for a continuous flow of gas from Burma to China, in exchange for kicking the generals’ backs.
    Then he could fly home and have avoided more bloodshed and at the same time cemented China’s position as one of the leading powers on this globe.

  19. #19 by greatstuff on Friday, 28 September 2007 - 10:40 am

    China, Thailand, and India hold the key to pushing the brutal Generals in the right direction. These countries need to look beyone their self-interests from the massive investments they have in Burma, especially China and Thailand, and put the needs of the poor down-trodden population as the number one priority. As for the weak minded ASEAN body, the time for getting into the bed with the fascist generals is over- isn’t democracy what most (except Thailand which was never a colony) of ASEAN nations fought for in the first place, most cases bloodily to gain Independence for each of their nations since 1947? ASEAN has been far too “limp” and a bit of an embarassment on their ideals- too many illicit interests, isn’t that the real reason they haven’t gone far enough with these ghastly generals of Burma!

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