March 24, 2005


The bells to toll on Myanmar (Verghese Mathews, 3/25/05, Asia Times)

I am sure there are many like me who will say syabas (super) to Mr Nazri Abdul Aziz, Malaysia's minister for parliamentary affairs, for his statement, widely quoted on Wednesday in local and international media, that "Myanmar's turn to be the chairman of ASEAN [ought] to be suspended and given to other countries until democratic reforms are carried out".

In addition to this comment, Aziz also tellingly declared that a motion to suspend Myanmar's chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations would be introduced in Malaysia's parliament next week.

This is surely a seriously considered commentary that is obviously well calculated to send a clear signal to Yangon that Malaysia means business. [...]

Unfortunately, all present indications are that much time and energy will indeed be wasted on the Myanmar issue.

As chairman, much of the firefighting will fall on Malaysia. Worse, if in fact Myanmar does assume the chairmanship, it will be Malaysia that will have to do the honors of passing on the baton. Malaysia is indeed serious - it does not want to be the baton-passer.

Better for those currently in power in Myanmar to realize that the proverbial bells have begun to toll.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 24, 2005 12:00 AM
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