Dialogue with Myanmar’s National Unity Govt welcomed, ties with junta is crucial too, says Syed Hamid

Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar also stressed that it is necessary for Malaysia to act in unison with other like-minded Asean countries on the ongoing political turmoil in Myanmar. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar also stressed that it is necessary for Malaysia to act in unison with other like-minded Asean countries on the ongoing political turmoil in Myanmar. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 — Former Malaysian foreign minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar welcomes Malaysia’s readiness to consider holding a dialogue with Myanmar’s National Unity Government if the ruling military junta continues to ignore the five-point consensus agreed upon by Asean.

However, he cautioned that the move should not be at the expense of the ties with the junta governing the country.

“It’s good for Malaysia to establish contact with the NUG. However, we can’t sever relations with the junta government,” said Syed Hamid, who is the chairman of the Malaysian Advisory Group on Myanmar, to Bernama.

He also stressed that it is necessary for Malaysia to act in unison with other like-minded Asean countries on the ongoing political turmoil in Myanmar.

“We shouldn’t be isolated from Asean on Myanmar. It is Myanmar that should act in the spirit of Asean togetherness and cooperation,” he said.

Syed Hamid said this when asked on Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah’s reply to a question in Parliament on Wednesday that Malaysia is ready to consider holding a dialogue with the NUG if the five-point consensus does not get the cooperation of the military junta.

Saifuddin also said the Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting last Monday was informed that Naypyidaw was still not cooperating with the terms of the consensus reached at the special Asean Leaders Meeting (ALM) in Jakarta in April to help resolve the crisis in Myanmar.

The NUG is a shadow government formed last April by representatives from the National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi and others. The activities of the NUG are largely carried out online.

Since the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi was overthrown by Myanmar’s junta led by General Min Aung Hlaing on February 1, there had been internal unrest with nearly 1,000 civilians killed by security forces.

Asean has also appointed Brunei Foreign Minister II Erywan Mohd Yusof as special envoy to Myanmar as stated in the five-point consensus, but he has not been able to play his role because of the junta’s refusal to cooperate. — Bernama

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