7:19pm 01/08/2022
End game for the Myanmar conflict
By:Saifuddin Abdullah

On 26th July, I had a fruitful discussion with the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Myanmar, Dr Noeleen Heyzer.

We discussed various issues: the ASEAN 5-Point Consensus (5PC), a Framework for Myanmar with an end game, humanitarian aid and education for refugees.

Until today, there has been no real progress on the 5PC. The violence continues, and in fact gotten worse.

There is no inclusive or fair consultation between all key stakeholders in the ASEAN-junta dialogue. The junta monopolises and politicises humanitarian aid.

Thus, on 22nd July, the cabinet decided on two matters to be brought to the ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting in Phnom Penh on 3rd August: that Myanmar should not be allowed to send political representatives to all ASEAN ministerial level meetings, and starting with that meeting until the ASEAN Summit in November, a Framework to implement the 5PC is to be discussed.

On 25th July, the junta reportedly executed four Myanmar democracy activists, namely Kyaw Min Yu, Phyo Zeya Thaw, Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw.

Malaysia condemns this heinous act. It is a crime against humanity. It shows the junta is making a mockery of the 5PC.

Previously, I had suggested that the ASEAN Chair’s Special Envoy should meet with the National Unity Government (NUG) and the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) of Myanmar.

Now is the time for this meeting to be hastened and its progress made public.

Subsequently, the ASEAN Summit this November will need to make a big decision. Will the 5PC be continued? Can it be improved? Or to create something new?

After having met with various key stakeholders (including the NUG and NUCC), and with these efforts still ongoing, I am of the opinion that ASEAN needs to have a Framework that has an end game and lay out the matters/processes required to achieve that end game.

The end game is a democratic, inclusive and just, peaceful and harmonious, prosperous Myanmar whose civil and political rights are guaranteed by the Constitution.

In this context, ASEAN needs to have accurate and up-to-date information about what is actually happening by obtaining it directly from the involved parties.

This is to be followed by an inclusive and fair consultation by all key stakeholders. They need to sit at the same table, in a safe setting, to find a way to implement this Framework, including on matters/processes such as a fair and transparent humanitarian aid, transition plans and implementing parties (ceasefire, stabilisation and transition), a People’s Constitution and an election that is free and agreed upon by all.

ASEAN needs to play the role of a facilitator together with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Myanmar, with participation and support from the international community.

(Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Member of Parliament for Indera Mahkota.)


Saifuddin Abdullah


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