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ASEAN Must Help Resolve Myanmar Conflict

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During a visit to the Philippines, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim stated that the Association of South-east Asian States (Asean) must demonstrate that it is “relevant” in helping to resolve the Myanmar crisis.

In a pre-recorded interview with the Filipino news channel ANC, which aired on Friday, he stated that Asean, which is driving diplomatic efforts to bring peace, needed to be more forceful, and that his country was bearing the burden of 200,000 Myanmar refugees.

Decision-making by agreement is a core pillar of Asean, but it does not mean the organisation should remain silent on changes in member countries that affect the region as a whole, said Datuk Seri Anwar in a separate public address on Thursday.

According to the Prime Minister, Asean’s critics were particularly focused on two of its principles: consensual decision-making and non-interference.

In all honesty, I feel that non-interference is not a licence for apathy,” he stated on Thursday during a speech at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Manila, according to Bernama.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad landed in Manila on Wednesday morning for a two-day official visit, making him the first head of government to visit the Philippines since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr assumed office in June 2022.

Mr Anwar added that it was critical to adhere to one key Asean value in advocating for the cause of justice and the rule of law in relation to the unresolved Myanmar issue.

At his discussion with Mr Marcos Jr at the Malacanang Palace on Wednesday, Mr Anwar stated that Myanmar was more than just an internal issue, and that it has harmed Malaysia, which is home to over 200,000 Rohingya refugees.

“I would certainly suggest exploring new areas on how the Myanmar junta can be persuaded to work and collaborate as a team within Asean and resolve the outstanding issue, which cannot be considered purely internal because it affects the security and welfare of the region,” he said at a joint press conference with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

UP also awarded the Malaysian Prime Minister an honorary doctorate for his work as a scholar and internationally recognised expert on economics, democracy, freedom, governance, Islam, and the need for accountability.

Info source – The Straits Times

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