• YB Wong Chen

SEAC Calls for Indonesia to lead ASEAN on the Myanmar Crisis

MEDIA STATEMENT: CALLS FOR INDONESIA TO LEAD ASEAN ON THE MYANMAR CRISIS It has been a long tradition of ASEAN to work collectively through consensus making in the spirit of mutual respect afforded to all parties. However, when Cambodia took over the ASEAN chairmanship for the year 2022, Somdech Hun Sen the autocratic Cambodian Prime Minister and a known friend of the Myanmar Junta, ignored the ASEAN practice of collective consensus. Last month, he took it upon himself to travel to Myanmar to meet with the Myanmar Junta in Naypyidaw without prior consultation with other ASEAN states. His unsanctioned visit failed to get the Myanmar Junta to accept the ASEAN five points consensus and Somdech Hun Sen returned to Cambodia empty-handed. In the process, Somdech Hun Sen clearly irked other ASEAN leaders who gave him an unusually strong push back on his follow up suggestion to allow the Myanmar Junta to join the recent informal ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Retreat. Following the push back from ASEAN, Somdech Hun Sen appears to have lost the confidence of other ASEAN states in handling the Myanmar crisis. In turn, ASEAN while being chaired by Cambodia for this year, is not at a loss, without proper leadership to deal with the Myanmar crisis. To resolve the impasse, the Southeast ASian Community group (SEAC) calls upon all ASEAN Parliamentarians, academia, think tanks, and opinion makers to lobby and pressure their respective governments to support the idea of enabling Indonesia to take over the ASEAN leadership on all matters related to the Myanmar crisis from Cambodia. To be clear, SEAC believes that Cambodia can continue to chair ASEAN for 2022 on all other matters except those related to the Myanmar crisis. SEAC believes that Indonesia, being the largest member of ASEAN in terms of population and economy, has the necessary clout and stature to convince the Myanmar Junta to negotiate for peace and thus bring a peaceful end to the worsening Myanmar crisis. In addition, with her strong and advanced democratic structure and as a founding member of ASEAN, Indonesia will also be able to cooperate better with the UN Secretary General as well as the UNSG Special Envoy for Myanmar. Lastly, SEAC renews its call to the Myanmar Junta to immediately end all violence against the people of Myanmar. SEAC reiterates its call that ASEAN must formally engage and recognise the NUG as the legitimate representatives of the Myanmar people. -End- SEAC Group Founders; Sam Rainsy. Kasit Piromya, Wong Chen, Mu Sochua and Emil Kirjas.

3 March 2022