DAP welcomes release of political prisonersby the Myanmese military junta  and calls on Malaysia and ASEAN to press for release of Aung San Suu Kyi and Tin Oo before ASEAN Parliamentarians’ Workshop on Myanmar and Vientiane ASEAN Summit next week

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): DAP welcomes the mass release of some 4,000 prisoners in Burma, including at least 20  political prisoners such as high-profile detainees: 

  • 16-year detainee, Min Ko Naing, 42,  a zoology student at a university in the capital when he became a charismatic leader of  the 1988 popular uprising against military rule, arrested and sentenced to 20 years in jail for his political activities. He was in solitary confinement for most of the past 16 years;
  • 72-year-old journalist Win Tin, aide to Nobel Peace Laureate and Burmese Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who had been in custody for 14 years; and
  • Ko Khun Sai, known as Myo Htun, former student activist who was sentenced for helping to write a student  history in February 1998, and has served two other prison terms for his political activities.

Malaysia and the other ASEAN countries should express their appreciation for the release of prisoners and political detainees by the Myanmese State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).  

They must, however,  press for the immediate and unconditional release of Aung San Suu Kyi, her  deputy U Tin Oo and all other political prisoners  before the ASEAN Parliamentarians’ Workshop on Myanmar in Kuala Lumpur on Nov. 26-28 and the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane Nov. 29-30, as well as the immediate holding of a meaningful tripartite political dialogue involving the military junta, the pro-democracy forces and the ethnic nationalities for national reconciliation and democratization. 

It is only with the latter development that ASEAN and the international society can have confidence that there is a chance and hope for the normalization of political life in Burma as well as the return of Myanmar to the mainstream of international relations. 


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