Asean must adopt unified stance against any proposal for elections that are against people's will in Myanmar, says body

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 (Bernama): The Malaysian Advisory Group on Myanmar (MAGM) has called on Asean to adopt a unified stance against any proposals for new elections by the military junta’s State Administration Council (SAC) which are against the will of the majority of Myanmar population.

The Chair of the Advisory Group, Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, in making the call, said as Asean holds the Foreign Ministers’ Retreat (AMM Retreat) and related meetings at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia on Friday, the regional grouping must take strong and decisive action to address the ongoing conflict in Myanmar and "must in no way legitimise the Myanmar military".

"As Asean Foreign Ministers meet in Jakarta, the Malaysian Advisory Group on Myanmar calls upon the grouping to take strong and decisive action to address the ongoing conflict in Myanmar and the displacement of millions of individuals as a result of the violence,” said Syed Hamid in a statement.

Feb 1, 2023 marks two years since the military, led by army chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, seized control of Myanmar and the country has been in turmoil since then and a subsequent crackdown on dissent has sparked fighting across swathes of the country while seriously affecting the economy.

Myanmar’s military regime has announced an extension to its state of emergency for another six months, delaying elections the junta had pledged to hold by August, as it battles anti-coup fighters across the country.

Syed Hamid said Asean should design clear benchmarks for the implementation of the Five Point Consensus and engage all Myanmar stakeholders to bring an end to the violence and facilitate the immediate protection of those most affected, including women, children and displaced persons.

The five points are an immediate end to violence in the country, holding dialogue among all parties, the appointment of a special envoy, allowing humanitarian assistance by Asean and allowing an Asean special envoy to visit Myanmar to meet with all parties.

"We also call on Asean member states hosting refugees from Myanmar to halt all deportations of asylum seekers and refugees from Myanmar immediately, whether or not they already possess UNHCR documents," stressed Syed Hamid.

While commending the Asean Chair’s (Indonesia) announcement on the opening of an office of the ASEAN Special Envoy on Myanmar, the MAGM emphasised that this must be just the first step in a series of strong and decisive actions to address the crisis.

Syed Hamid said MAGM calls on Asean to assert stronger pressure on the Myanmar military to immediately cease violence against the Myanmar people.

At the same Asean must ensure the junta allow the immediate and unhindered provision of humanitarian aid and protection without discrimination to those most affected by the conflict, and include the Rohingya human rights crisis and protracted displacement as a key area of focus within the framework of the Asean Five Point Consensus.

"Asean must take all necessary measures to prevent the situation (in Myanmar) from escalating and causing even greater harm to the people of Myanmar and further displacement in the region. Asean cannot afford to fail the people of Myanmar.

"Already, the inability to pressure the Myanmar regime to address this humanitarian tragedy reflects badly on ASEAN and the world,” he

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Myanmar , elections , MAGM , Syed Hamid Albar , Asean


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