Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) notes with grave concern that the violence in Burma continues unabated despite international condemnation. As neighbours, Malaysians can empathise with the despair of the Burmese people, and no one should bear seeing the sufferings of millions continue.
This year, I had visited the Burmese refugee camps at the Thai-Burma border together with other Asean parliamentarians and personally witnessed the desperate conditions there. In this day and age, no one should have to live in such places, not especially in a prosperous region such as Asean.
Every Burmese refugees and democratic activists whom I had met had appealed to our compassion and solidarity. They have placed enormous hope on us, their neighbour. to support their struggle to restore peace and democracy, to use our liberty to speak for them.
We must not fail them today.
PKR unites with the international community in urging the immediate cessation of violence. We also call on the United Nations to redouble its efforts to restore democracy and secure the release of Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
We welcome Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi's condemnation of the Burmese junta in New York last week. We are satisfied that the Malaysian government has long last acknowledged PKR's basic assertion that Asean's policy of constructive engagement had failed to bring peace and freedom in Burma.
We call upon the Malaysian Foreign Ministry to immediately support the United Nations in stepping up the pressure on the Burmese junta to stop the brutal violence and to immediate facilitate dialogue between the military junta and democrats, including Suu Kyi, under its auspices.
Should there be no improvement on the part of the Burmese junta to end the vicious suppression of the Burmese people, we believe that Burma should not only be barred from attending the Asean summit in Singapore this November, but that the Malaysian government should lead the rest of the region by tabling a resolution to expel Burma from Asean immediately, and in addition to apply trade sanctions on the recalcitrant junta.
Only such direct steps will prove our resolute firmness in indicating to the Burmese military junta, that state violence against people who long only for freedom, democracy and peace, is absolutely unacceptable in Southeast Asia.
The writer is PKR president and deputy chair of Malaysian Parliamentary Caucus on Democracy in Myanmar.