Urgent motion in Parliament on Monday to condemn the year-long extension of Aung San Suu Ky’s house-arrest which raises the issue of propriety of Myanmar taking the ASEAN Chair for 2006


Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang

(Parliament, Friday): I have today given notice to the Speaker of Parliament, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib, to move an urgent motion of definite public importance on Monday to condemn the year-long extension of the house arrest of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Burmese Opposition Leader, Aung San Suu Kyo, which raised the issue of propriety of Myanmar taking the ASEAN Chair for 2006. 

In my notice of motion to the Speaker, I said:


“The timing of ASSK’s house-arrest extension at the end of the Vientiane ASEAN Summit is an open slap-in-the-face for the other ASEAN leaders and governments,  in utter defiance and contempt of the call by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Pnomh Penh in June  last year for her  immediate and unconditional release as well as the repeated promises by  the Myanmese leaders to end her incarceration since the Depayin Massacre on May 30 last year.


“It reinforces  grave doubts about  Myanmar’s commitment to democratisation and national reconciliation and  raises the question whether Myanmar   should be allowed to take the rotating ASEAN Chair for 2006,  as it will be a great blow to ASEAN with its   adverse impact on its international image and standing and  undesirable economic  consequences for the other ASEAN member nations in the era of globalization. 


“As Malaysia currently assumes unprecedented international responsibilities as the ‘triple’  Chair of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM),  Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), as well as ASEAN (taking over the ASEAN Chair from Laos after the Vientiane ASEAN Summit), the Malaysian Parliament should be in the forefront of  ASEAN Parliaments  in shaping regional and international opinion by taking the first and  earliest available opportunity to address pressing  international concerns on  Myanmar, including:


  • endorsing the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s call  that ASSK  and other political detainees must be included in the current spate of prisoner releases authorized by the military junta;
  • Genuine  tripartite political dialogue involving the military junta, the pro-democracy movement and the ethnic nationalities, as the crux of a meaningful ‘Seven-step Roadmap to Democracy’ in Myanmar”


It has been reported by the international press quoting sources  that the ASEAN countries “came close to issuing a critical statement on the Burmese government’s treatment of detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi at their summit, but the plan was shot down by Thailand”.


An Associated Press  report said:


“Senior officials of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, which includes Burma, drafted a statement expressing concern over the decision by the country’s junta to extend Nobel laureate Suu Kyi’s house arrest, said two diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity.

”hey said the statement, which was to have been issued Tuesday at the end of the annual summit of Asean leaders in the Laotian capital, Vientiane, also would have urged Burma’s military regime to stick to its pledges to move toward democracy.


“The planned statement, although stillborn, is a reflection of the deep frustration among Southeast Asian countries with Burma’s junta, which has failed to fulfill any of its pledges to restore democracy in the country or to free Suu Kyi, who has been detained since May 2003.

”Many regional diplomats feel that Burma is tainting Asean’s reputation. The Burma statement was drafted by senior diplomats of Asean’s 10 member countries for approval of their leaders on Tuesday. However, it was abandoned after Thai officials ‘expressed reservations’, the diplomats said. As expected, Burma also opposed it…

”Senior diplomats of Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore who initiated the move then made an alternative proposal—each government would issue a separate statement criticizing Burma, but that plan was also not carried, the diplomats said.

”At least one government—the Philippines—went as far as preparing a draft statement, a copy of which was seen by Associated Press. It used strong language in expressing concern about Suu Kyi’s continued detention and the eroding credibility of Asean.


“Several diplomats privately expressed disappointment over the reported extension of Suu Kyi’s house arrest, saying they had tried to hold back on criticisms because of Burma’s promise to democratize. But with promises coming to naught, there is a feeling of betrayal among Asean countries, one of the diplomats said.”


Thailand’s  Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra owes not only the Thai people but the ASEAN community a full explanation as to why his government had blocked a clear and strong statement of concern and censure of Myanmar  at the Vientiane ASEAN Summit at the backtracking by the Myanmar military junta on democratisation and national reconciliation.


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