Malaysia supports call for Suu Kyi's immediate release, says Saifuddin Abdullah

Aung San Suu Kyi (Bloomberg filepix)

Aung San Suu Kyi (Bloomberg filepix)

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 16): Malaysia stands with the people of Myanmar and supports the call for Myanmar’s ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi's immediate release to begin the process of peaceful and inclusive dialogue with all stakeholders in the country.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah said this in his Tweet on Tuesday (Aug 16), following Monday's news reports that a court in the junta ruled for Myanmar to add six more years for corruption to her earlier 11-year prison sentence, taking the leader's total prison time to 17 years.

“The additional sentencing on Aung San Suu Kyi and the recent execution of four democracy activists proved that the junta repeatedly disregarded calls by Asean leaders for concrete and inclusive dialogue for national reconciliation in Myanmar and to fulfill the Asean 5 Point Consensus (5PC),” he said.

According to international reports, the trial in the military-ruled country was held behind closed doors and her lawyers were forbidden by a gag order from revealing information about the proceedings.

In January this year, the Nobel laureate was sentenced to 11 years in jail for corruption, incitement against the military, breaching Covid-19 rules and breaking a telecommunications law.

On July 26, Malaysia condemned the execution of four activists by Myanmar's junta and viewed the action as a crime against humanity. 

Myanmar’s military regime has executed four anti-coup activists — Phyo Zeya Thaw, former lawmaker for the National League for Democracy (NLD); the prominent activist Kyaw Min Yu, widely known as ‘Ko Jimmy’; Aung Thura Zaw; and Hla Myo Aung — who were all charged under anti-terrorism laws.

The executions which shocked the world were widely reported and drew international condemnation.

Since the coup on Feb 1, 2021, at least 2114 people have been killed in Myanmar by the self-styled State Administration Council (SAC), led by General Min Aung Hlaing, in its campaign to suppress the widespread opposition to military rule.

Malaysia and other Asean member states have repeatedly called for an inclusive dialogue under the 5PC that includes the National Unity Government (NUG) and the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC).

The 5PC on handling the Myanmar crisis had been agreed upon at the Asean Leaders Meeting (ALM) in Jakarta in April 2021. 

It called for immediate cessation of violence, for dialogues to be held with all key stakeholders, for the appointment of a special envoy to facilitate mediation, and for the delegation to visit and meet with stakeholders in Myanmar, as well as to allow Asean to provide humanitarian assistance to the people in Myanmar.