Malaysian PM Anwar calls on Asean to explore new approaches in dealing with Myanmar crisis


Malaysian PM Anwar Ibrahim stated that Asean should make coherent and concerted efforts as a regional organisation to resolve the conflict in Myanmar during a joint press conference following the meeting. - Bernama

BANGKOK, Feb 12 (Bernama): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has urged Asean to explore new strategies and approaches in resolving the ongoing crisis in Myanmar.

Anwar stated in an exclusive interview with Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) that the Myanmar crisis can no longer be considered the internal affairs of the country because it has affected its neighbours, including Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia as a result of the influx of refugees fleeing the country.

"Myanmar conflict seems not to be resolved in near future unless Asean take a revise, on what, we have to discuss.

"The Asean Way has been extremely productive in dealing many other issues (in the region). However, the Asean Way need to revise when it comes on Myanmar crisis because constructive engagement has not been working,” he said.

Anwar, who was sworn in as Malaysia’s 10th Prime Minister in November last year, described himself as a junior among the other Asean leaders. He had discussed issues concerning Myanmar with his counterparts in Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and Thailand during his official visits to these countries recently.

"As Indonesia is taking the lead (Asean Chair this year), I will, probably in the next one or two weeks, speak to Indonesian President Jokowi (Joko Widodo), giving him my views on what has happen (in Myanmar) and seeking his wisdom and formulating new strategies,” he said.

During his maiden visit to Thailand, Anwar had met his counterpart Prayut Chan-O-Cha on Thursday and discussed multiple issues of mutual interest including Myanmar.

Anwar stated that Asean should make coherent and concerted efforts as a regional organisation to resolve the conflict in Myanmar during a joint press conference following the meeting.

He reaffirmed that Malaysia would "do whatever is required" to facilitate the peace process regarding the crisis in Southern Thailand.

"I told the Prime Minister (Prayut) that in a small way, with your (Prayut) agreement, I would do whatever necessary, talking and engaging our friends in the south as well as those in Bangkok.

"Besides that, we have to ensure the negotiations and meetings take place more often and issues raised must be dealt and addressed.

"What cannot be considered a compromise is our position against any form of violence,” he said.

Malaysia is a facilitator for the peace dialogue process in ending the decades-old conflict in Southern Thailand.

Anwar said former chief of defence force Tan Sri Zulkifli Zainal Abidin, who has been appointed as the new Malaysian chief facilitator effective January 1, has a good understanding of the situation in the south as well a friend to many in the kingdom.

"This will help immensely in the negotiations,” he said. - Bernama

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