Selangor Journal
Myanmar soldiers walk along a street during a protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on February 28, 2021. — Picture by REUTERS

Syed Hamid urges Myanmar junta to implement five-point consensus

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25 — Myanmar’s junta must respect the country’s membership in Asean by complying with the Five-point Consensus (5PCs), said former Malaysian foreign minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar.

Syed Hamid, who is also the Chairman of the Malaysian Advisory Group on Myanmar, pointed out that if the junta wanted Myanmar to be part of the 10-member bloc, they must adhere to the consensus that was forged between the Asean leaders and Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing in April 2021.

“At present, there is no roadmap or anything towards going back to normalcy. They (the junta) are still taking very violent action against the people who are dissenting against them, they (the junta) are still going against human rights in their actions against the people who are not with them.

“They haven’t withdrawn their soldiers to the barracks and they have not allowed international aid agencies to come in to help. The situation is very bad in Myanmar,” he said when contacted by Bernama recently.

Myanmar has been going through an upheaval since February 1 when armed forces chief Gen. Min Aung Hlaing ousted an elected government led by democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi with more than 1,000 people reported killed in the following unrest.

Aiming to help seek reconciliation and restore peace in Myanmar, Asean had agreed to the 5-PCs on April 24, 2021, calling for the end of violence in Myanmar, constructive talks among all stakeholders, facilitation of humanitarian aid, deployment of an Asean special envoy to conduct talks with all stakeholders, and the special envoy allowed to visit the country.

The insufficient progress in the implementation of the 5PCs by the junta resulted in them being snubbed from the 38th and 39th Asean Summit and Related Summits held in late October last year.

In this regard, Syed Hamid concurred with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s view, that Asean should maintain its decision of inviting a non-political representative from Myanmar to Asean meetings until there was significant progress in implementing the consensus.

He opined that Asean should stick to its stand until Myanmar follows the common position of the grouping.

“Otherwise, Asean will become irrelevant. It, therefore, cannot be the centre to all kinds of dialogue on regional issues,” he said.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo in a statement on Sunday expressed regret that the Myanmar junta did not commit to implementing the consensus during Cambodian Prime Minister and current ASEAN chair Hun Sen’s visit to Naypyidaw recently.

In his phone call with Hun Sen that took place on Jan 21, Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi, emphasised that Asean’s approach towards Myanmar should be based on agreed principles, particularly the 5PCs.

— Bernama

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