KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah will be talking to ASEAN Special Envoy to Myanmar Erywan Mohd Yusof regarding the Myanmar shadow government’s call for a revolt against the ruling military junta.
He said the Malaysian Embassy in Yangon is also closely following the latest developments in the country that has endured civilian unrest since the Feb 1 military coup, that overthrew the democratically elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.
Despite the lack of progress over the last six months, Saifuddin stressed that ASEAN is committed to the five-point consensus mandated by the 10-member grouping’s leaders to resolve the conflict in Myanmar.
“I’ll be contacting him and see what else can we do and how fast can we push this. But now with the latest development, we really have to go back to the drawing board,” he told a press conference in conjunction with his visit to the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), here on Wednesday.
Malaysia as an ASEAN member country is frustrated that the five-point consensus could not be implemented as quickly as possible with the special envoy still unable to get to Myanmar to meet with all stakeholders.
Saifuddin said this when asked on the views from certain parties that Myanmar’s National Unity Government’s (NUG) call for revolt against the junta reflected a failure on ASEAN’s part.
NUG, a government in exile formed by lawmakers ousted in the Feb 1 military coup, declared on Tuesday “people’s defensive war” against the ruling junta, raising a specter of more bloodbath in Myanmar.
In a video posted on Facebook, Duwa Lashi La, the acting president of NUG asked all citizens of Myanmar to revolt against the military rule.
The five-point consensuses are the immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and all parties to exercise utmost restraint; constructive dialogue among all parties concerned to commence to seek a peaceful solution in the interests of the people; a special envoy of the ASEAN Chair to facilitate mediation of the dialogue process with the assistance of the Secretary-General of ASEAN; the association to provide humanitarian assistance through the AHA Centre; and the special envoy and delegation to visit Myanmar to meet with all parties concerned.
Saifuddin also noted that humanitarian assistance couldn’t be channeled into areas affected by violence in the country as the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) is not equipped to send aid to conflict zones.
“It is of a big concern even before the latest turn of events,” he said.
Meanwhile, on the formation of Afghanistan’s interim government announced on Tuesday, Saifuddin reiterated his earlier statements that said Malaysia has not decided its stand and that the Cabinet will decide on the matter this Friday.
“We stand together with Afghanistan’s people and during this Friday’s Cabinet meeting we will be discussing these issues on recognition, humanitarian assistance, etc for Afghanistan,” he said.
Malaysia will also participate in the United Nations’ international conference on Sept 13 to raise humanitarian funds for the Afghan people, adding that Malaysia’s aid pledge will also be decided this Friday.
Saifuddin will also consult the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) secretary-general to look at what can Malaysia do for the country through OIC.
On the status of the Afghan ambassador to Malaysia Dr Moheb Rahman Spin Ghar, Saifuddin said the government will not ask the diplomat to leave Kuala Lumpur.
“I’m not so sure if he has received his credential from Kabul because the government has just been formed, but we are not going to ask him to leave because we understand in times like this, some government may need some time to make new decisions on diplomatic representatives and so on,” he said.
On Tuesday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid announced the lineup of the new government with Mullah Hassan Akhund appointed as the acting prime minister.
The Taliban fighters entered Kabul on Aug 15 and took control of Afghanistan for the first time in almost 20 years as the US troops withdrew from the country. Following the Taliban’s capture of the Afghan capital, president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani left the country.