KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional and opposition MPs joined hands yesterday to urge the Myanmar government to free pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest “immediately and unconditionally.”
Calling themselves the Malaysian Pro-Democracy Myanmar MPs Caucus, the group of concerned MPs urged Myanmar Prime Minister Gen Khin Nyunt to hand over authority to a legitimately elected government.
They also called for the release of political detainees, including MPs elected in Myanmar's last general election.
Caucus chairman Datuk Zaid Ibrahim (BN – Kota Baru) urged Khin Nyunt to allow MPs elected in the last election to choose a new prime minister and government according to prevailing constitutional and parliamentary norms.
Suu Kyi's NLD party won a landslide victory in the 1990 election but the military junta declared the results null and void and hung on to power.
Suu Kyi has been under house arrest since May 2003 after a pro-junta mob clashed with her supporters.
Zaid said that NLD should be allowed to participate in the Myanmar National Constitutional Convention and not be excluded from the deliberations and decisions.
“We also appeal to the Myanmar government to allow entry and unimpeded functioning of Asean and United Nations observer groups to ensure constitutional and civil processes are adhered to,'' he added.
Caucus committee member Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz (BN – Padang Rengas) said the caucus would engage all sides in persuading Myanmar to move towards democratisation and national reconciliation.
For a start, it would initiate talks with Myanmar and Thailand ambassadors as well as the Singapore High Commissioner and parliamentarians from these countries, he said.
He added that the caucus would call upon UN Rapporteur to Myanmar, Tan Sri Razali Ismail, to provide briefings on what had been achieved in the country at its next meeting on July 5.
Following this, he said that caucus members would visit Suu Kyi.
The caucus vice-chairman is Permatang Pauh MP Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. Its secretary is Seputeh MP Theresa Kok and assistant secretary is Ayer Hitam MP Wee Ka Siong.
Committee members include Batu Gajah MP Fong Po Kuan, Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng, Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen and Kota Melaka MP Wong Nai Chee among others
Lim Kit Siang (DAP – Ipoh Timor), who is also in the committee, said the caucus was important as it would help promote democracy in Myanmar.
“It is not only for the people in Myanmar but also for better relationship between Asean and the European Union. We should play our role to nudge the process of democratisation in Myanmar and work with Asean Parliamentarians who are like-minded,'' he said.
Lim said the caucus was formed in their individual capacities as MPs because they were concerned about democracy and Asean's international standing.