Myanmar coup: Is Asean a bystander or the region’s peacemaker, asks Tok Mat

THE Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) can no longer just be a bystander to the recent happenings in Myanmar and should establish itself as a peacemaker of the region.

“Asean can no longer just be a spectator following the recent conflict in Myanmar. Restoring democracy and protecting human rights is definitely Asean’s business.

“The regional pact must position itself as a peacemaker which exudes confidence to the people in the region,” said Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, in a Facebook post.

Yesterday, the Myanmar army launched a coup, ousting the democratically elected National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Nobel Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan’s post on Facebook

The army justified its decision claiming there were “widespread electoral irregularities” in the November general election, which saw the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) being dealt with a crushing defeat at the polls.

Following the coup, the military has imposed an Emergency rule for a year, with General Min Aung Hlaing now helming the nation.

Suu Kyi and several other key NLD leaders were arrested and held in undisclosed locations.

Call for emergency Asean meeting

Since then, the Malaysian Foreign Ministry had issued a statement, urging Myanmar’s military and other parties to ensure peace and security of the nation, by upholding the rule of law.

“Malaysia supports the continuation of discussions among Myanmar’s leaders to avoid adverse consequences to its people, especially during the current and difficult COVID-19 pandemic situation,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had said that Myanmar’s military actions undermined the nation’s preliminary steps to embrace democracy.

“Asean and world leaders must stand united and call for the immediate release of political detainees, and the reinstatement of the rule of law in Myanmar. After much struggle, the people of Myanmar emerged with a constitution and basic electoral freedom,” the Port Dickson MP was reported saying.

On that note, Hasan urged the Malaysian Government to call for an emergency Asean Foreign Affairs Leaders meeting to find a solution to Myanmar’s political quagmire.

“And our Government must also compel the Myanmar army to release NLD leaders from custody and respect their rights.

“The military coup is disappointing and will dent the nation’s move towards democracy. Everyone should respect Myanmar’s general election results,” the Rantau state assemblyman remarked. – Feb 2, 2021.

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