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Friday, March 19, 2021

Give peace a chance, Malaysia tells Myanmar

THE Star  

By ALLISON LAI
Friday, 19 Mar 2021


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has called on Myanmar's ruling junta to change its course and choose a peaceful solution instead of violence against unarmed civilians.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic) said all concerned parties should work together towards a peaceful settlement of this crisis.


"Violence begets violence, and the nation's future may be plunged into irreversible destruction.

"The military leadership in Myanmar is strongly urged to change its course, and choose a path towards peaceful solutions.


"We in Malaysia, and the larger Asean community, cannot afford to see our brotherly nation of Myanmar become so destabilised at the hands of a selected few, who seek to promote their own vested interests," he said in a statement on Friday (March 19).

Muhyiddin said Malaysia is gravely concerned over the tragic situation in Myanmar since the military coup took place on February 1.

"I am appalled by the persistent use of lethal violence against unarmed civilians which has resulted in a high number of deaths and injuries, as well as suffering across the nation.

"There is no question about it – the use of live ammunition against peaceful protests is unacceptable. This deplorable situation must stop immediately.

"On behalf of the people of Malaysia, I convey my deepest and sincerest condolences to all the people of Myanmar who have lost their loved ones, and who have become victims as a consequence of the current political crisis," he said.

Malaysia, he added, will continue to support an inclusive dialogue for a political transition, and urge all parties to return to the negotiating table, remedy the crisis and avoid any further escalation of tensions.

Muhyiddin also called for the unconditional release of detained civilian leaders Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and their associates by the Myanmar military for an emergency Asean Summit to convene to address the situation.

"It is clear that the current political struggle only victimises the common people of Myanmar. This has no place in the values of our beliefs, conscience and culture.

"It contradicts the principles enshrined in the Asean Charter, which we in Asean commit ourselves to promote and protect so that peace, security and prosperity for our region are guaranteed.

I strongly support the statement by President Joko Widodo of the Republic of Indonesia today (March 19), and his call for the convening of an emergency Asean Summit to address the situation in Myanmar.

"Only through an open, sincere, and honest discussion will we be able to enhance Asean's role to assist Myanmar in finding a way out of the current crisis expediently," he said.

A state of emergency for one year was declared in Myanmar on Feb 1 after Suu Kyi and other senior figures from the ruling National League for Democracy party were detained in an early morning raid.

The move came after days of escalating tension between the civilian government and the powerful military that stirred fears of a coup in the aftermath of an election that the army said was fraudulent.

Despite heavy international condemnation, the ruling junta continues to detain civilians and rack up a rising death toll, with an activist group reporting on Thursday that more than 210 people had been killed so far.

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