DAP supports the call by Mahathir to expel Burma from ASEAN


Media Statement
by Teresa Kok Suh Sim

(Kuala Lumpur, Tuesday): I support the call by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad to expel  Burma from ASEAN over the military junta's refusal to release the country's Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other pro-democracy activists.

Such a call has been long awaited in the face of continued defiance by the military junta to free Suu Kyi and leaders and activists of the National League for Democracy (NLD) despite international and regional pressure, particularly as their detention has put a large dent on painstaking efforts towards democratization and national reconciliation in the country.

In fact, Malaysia had worked very hard to bring Burma into ASEAN and the Special United Nations envoy to Burma, Tan Sri Razali Ismail, who is a Malaysian, was responsible for brokering the peace talks between the military junta and the NLD.

We hope that by exerting further pressure on the military junta in the form of possible expulsion from ASEAN for blatant violation of human rights in the detention of Suu Kyi and other NLD leaders and activists, it would soften their tough stance and comply with the many voices calling for the release of the latter.

In the same way the Malaysian government is extending its solidarity to Suu Kyi and the process of national reconciliation in Burma, it should also do likewise in the case of former deputy premier Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. It must not be seen to practice double standards when it comes to a domestic issue. Hence, we hope that the government would support Anwar's application for bail pending his appeal against his sodomy conviction.


* Teresa Kok Suh Sim, DAP International Secretary and MP for Seputeh