The military junta in Myanmar should revert to the democratization road map proposed by its former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt in 2003. It should abandon authoritarianism and restore democracy by convening a cross-party national constituent assembly and holding democratic elections with full participation of all democratic forces in the country. To show its good faith, the military junta should also immediately free all political dissidents and prisoners of conscience including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of National League for Democracy(NLD)which won the 1990 elections who had been under house-arrest for years.

Years of the military junta’s suppression of democracy and Myanmar’s ethnic minorities are what have triggered the recent wave of massive demonstrations. Therefore, the Burmese monks who have stood up to express their discontents and functioned as the nation’s conscience deserve commendation and support from the international community.

KLSCAH urges the public to express their concern on the situation in Myanmar as well as the support for the democratic movement there. KLSCAH also calls on the military junta in Myanmar to disclose the actual casualty figures, to take full responsibility and to apologize to the Myanmarese people for the brutal crackdown. The military junta should also carry out a thorough investigation into the death of a Japanese video journalist, Mr Kenji Nagai, apparently shot dead from a close distance.

KLSCAH also condemns the military junta for imposing information blockade in the country. The death of Mr Nagai under gunfire underlines the grave threat on press freedom. The suppression may accelerate and intensify when the truth is suppressed.

As the development in Myanmar affects the stable development in the ASEAN region, the bloody repression by the military junta has caused great damage on regional cooperation and solidarity, hence alienating itself from the rest of the regional group.

KLSCAH is therefore glad to see ASEAN condemning the military junta’s bloody repression on the grounds of humanitarianism and democracy. However, KLSCAH insists that ASEAN should take more practical and effective measures to end the atrocities. China, a close ally and strong backer of the military regime in Myanmar, should at this critical moment advise the latter against any more violent crackdown instead of indirectly condoning it. As a key player in the Asia-Pacific region which actively portraits its “peaceful rise” overseas and promotes a “harmonious society” at home, China has the moral duty to play a greater role in ensuring the peace and stability of the region.

President of KLSCAH,
Dato’ Bong Hon Liong

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