Who cries for Burma? Not Malaysia, not Asean

Roshan Jason | May 23, 08                                                                                        Malaysiakini /letters

 I refer to the Malaysiakini report No regrets in supporting Burma to join Asean.

I cannot help but be appalled at_

  • the ignorance and insensitivity of the Malaysian government_
  • when it comes to the humanitarian – and political – crisis surrounding Burma.
  • Malaysia has displayed an extreme lack of awareness to the reality of the situation in a country which has been ruled by various brutal military dictators for the past 46 years.
  • In displaying no regrets when supporting a military regime that_
  • has no qualms about allowing its citizens to needlessly suffer the after-effects of a natural disaster,
  • Malaysia has proven that it does not care for the welfare of the people in Burma – ‘a close neighbour’.

Burma is what it is today – no different, if not worse than 10 years ago when it joined Asean – because of government representatives like our Deputy Foreign Minister Abdul Rahim Bakri.

I challenge him to take his words to the families of the thousands of dead Burmese in Rangoon and other cyclone-devastated parts of the country.

I challenge him to go to each of the 2.5 million survivors of the storm – who are, with every passing minute, at risk of death from disease and starvation

And relate his ignorant statement (comment: may be stupid or just a usual white lie) that Burma has ‘developed little by little after it joined Asean’.

  • What development is he talking about?
  • Millions of IDP or internally displaced people?
  • The lack of infrastructure and will of the Myanmar junta to adequately warn its people of an impending deadly cyclone?
  • Or the lack of capacity and will to administer aid and relief efforts to save the victims of the disaster?
  • Or Is he referring to the Burmese constitution that mocks the Asean Charter
  • in terms of deliberately entrenching the power of authoritarian military generals?
  • Has he even read the proposed – and soon to be adopted – Burmese constitution?


  1. AsEAN countries are just exploiting Burma’s economy together with Generals and IGNORE/DISCRIMINATE the MYANMARS or BURMESE in their countries. 
  2. You ASEAN leaders are propping up SPDC Junta and shielding them from the attacks of US, EU and Democratic countries in UNSC and every where. If not for ASEAN there is a possible regieme change.
  3. Myanmar is still poor because of irresponsible ASEAN leaders who are blinded with greed.
  4. Just think a little bit, you all ignored the Junta’s Anti-Muslim riots and accepted them into ASEAN. ALLAH/GOD punished all ASEAN with financial crisis. Many leaders lost their power.
  5. Why Allah allowed an American Jew to successfully attack many Muslim countries? Because he is helping all Burmese  including Muslims while you all shamelessly condone the Junta’s attack on Muslims and Islam in Myanmar.
  6. So, good, carry on, continue your support to Junta without any regret. God knows the truth but waits. Do you all believe GOD/ALLAH?)

“It is a country close to us and if Myanmar (Burma) were to be isolated, its development, economy and trade would be stifled, besides having to face a more serious poverty problem.

How can the Asean Charter be ratified in the context of such a biased constitution?


Or is he talking about development in terms of the military regime killing in cold blood Buddhist monks –

as opposed to previously just targeting ordinary citizens, political activists and human rights defenders?


Every minute that passes as the Malaysian government – and Asean member states – protect the junta,

  • a child dies of malnutrition, hunger and disease.
  • This is not only the result of the cyclone but also because of the incompetence and sheer inhumanity of the Burmese military.

Perhaps the only real ‘development’ that Burma and Malaysia has seen over the past 10 years is from the petrol and natural gas industry in Burma – which Malaysia’s Petronas is a key part of.

Certainly the deputy minister cannot be referring to_

  • the increase in direct personal revenue for the military regime –
  • and Malaysia’s investors

when he talks about development in Burma? Or is he?


RM 4.1 billion could be invested by Petronas because western oil companies’ protest against Myanmar Military. Then only Petronas could take advantage and could exploit Myanmar oil industry.

So why care about ordinary Myanmar people’s sufferring. And no need to care about Myanmars here. We all Burmese are sorry and angry that Petronas, PSD and ASEAN Scholarship programmes could sponser hundreds of students from the Generals’ families, relatives and friends as bribery.

Enough is enough, Malaysia.

Enough is enough, Asean.

It’s been 20 days since the cyclone hit Burma and thousands have died and thousands more are about to.

Do you really want to go down in history as a region that sat by watched idly while praising what some construe as ‘crimes against humanity’ meaning the junta’s indifference to saving lives?

If you do, then at least be honest about it and junk your attempts to promote a caring and sharing Asean community that ‘aspires to protect its people’.

Protecting the financial interests of your government(s) and cronies sounds more like the real deal.

I am ashamed for you, if you are not human enough to be ashamed of yourself.

The writer is executive director, Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC).

Read also this_

Burmese crackdown: Blood on our hands”

by Andrew Ong on Sep 27, 07 

Numerous Malaysian activists have condemned Malaysia’s continued diplomatic niceties towards Burma despite a violent crackdown against dissidents by the Burmese military junta.

Activist groups are fuming over Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar announcement yesterday that Malaysia would not impose any form of sanctions on Burma.

According to the Star today, Syed Hamid said the crackdown in Burma was an “internal problem” and that Malaysia position was “not to interfere”.

On the contrary, many Western countries condemned the violence in Burma and have vowed to come down hard on the military government, primarily through economic sanctions.

PKR information chief Tian Chua today condemned Syed Hamid’s statement and said that Malaysia was taking an unprincipled stand.

“Syed Hamid is basically giving the junta the green light to continue their oppressive ways,” said Tian Chua in a press conference at the party headquarters today.

The Petronas factor

Activists also pointed out that the fact that Malaysia had numerous business interest in the country could explain the soft approach towards Burma on the violence.

Malaysia’s biggest company operating in Burma is quite possibly state-owned oil and gas giant Petronas which has had major deals with the junta since 1997.

“These investment enrich the junta and prolong their helm. Worse still, they use such money to buy weapons deployed against their own citizens,” said DAP Parliamentarian Teresa Kok when contacted.

Petronas’ heavy investment there, said Tian Chua, would undermine Petronas’ standing in the international community and in Burma due to the company’s role in “backing up the junta”.

“At the very least, Syed Hamid must say clearly that if there is any further violence, Malaysia would review its investment (particularly Petronas),” he added.

Asean indifference?

Meanwhile, two influential news organisations have condemned the overwhelming collective silence of Asean nations over the violence in Burma.

Singapore-based Channel News Asia in a column today described Asean as Burma’s “only hope” while Indonesian daily Jakarta Post published a articled titled “Shame on Asean”.

Social activist and political economist Charles Santiago pointed out that like Malaysia’s Petronas, almost all other Asean countries have a vested interest in Burma which explained their soft position on the matter.

“The blood of innocent Burmese are on Asean hands,” he told malaysiakini.

According to Santiago, Asean had shown that it was unable to rein in on Burma on basic issues such as democracy and human rights since the country entry into the regional body in 1997.

“The whole point of getting Burma on board is to join the family of nations and (compel them) to subscribe to international standards,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Burma Caucus is urging Asean nations to push for immediate reforms at the ongoing United Nations General Assembly in New York.

“Obviously Asean has to move in very quickly and has to at least put a collective voice for once and remind the regime not to do anything that will cause harm to the people,” said caucus head Zaid Ibrahim, reported Voice of America online edition.

On the home front, Burmese and Malaysian activist are expected to hold a protest in front of the Burmese Embassy near Jalan Ampang tomorrow morning.













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