JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST / ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Recognizing, although partially, Myanmar’s Government of National Unity (NUG) could become an effective second move by Indonesia and ASIAN to force Myanmar’s military junta , Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, to implement the five-point consensus he agreed to in a meeting with group leaders in Jakarta on April 26.
The Burmese government-in-exile is the official representative of Aung San Suu Kyi, who was ousted by the military on February 1 and most recently sentenced to four years in prison for incitement and violating Covid-19 restrictions.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo had previously played a leading role in ASEAN’s unprecedented decision to ban the Burmese junta leader from attending the bloc’s summit in October.
The idea of âârecognizing NUG has been circulating among government officials here for some time for several reasons, including that the government does not want the Myanmar issue to haunt Indonesia’s presidency of the Group of 20 (G-20). Indonesia will host several meetings, including the G-20 summit in November next year. The military junta’s refusal to honor the April deal will eclipse Indonesia’s G-20 agenda.
Just hours after the court handed down her prison term for Ms. Suu Kyi, General Hlaing cut the sentence in half for no reason. However, the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) still faces nine other charges which, if proven, would require her to spend 100 years in prison.
The NLD won the 2015 and 2020 elections by a landslide, but the military, which has ruled the impoverished nation since 1962, has refused to share, let alone lose, power.
Any decision to recognize the Myanmar government in exile may involve risks, but there is always a solution. What if the Burmese junta retaliated by closing the Indonesian embassy there? Let them do it. What if other ASEAN leaders, such as Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, asked ASEAN to treat Gen Hlaing on an equal footing with other leaders? ? President Jokowi can easily skip any meeting to discuss such a request with a perfect apology; for example, he is concerned about the G-20 agenda.
ASEAN’s decision not to invite Hlaing to the October summit was a historic break from the decades-long taboo on behalf of humanity, because the lives of millions of Burmese really matter. The Sultan of Brunei, as rotating Asean chairman, was very reluctant to take action against Hlaing, and it was only after repeated calls from Jokowi and some other Asean leaders that Brunei finally followed the concerted measure.
President Jokowi must call for tougher measures against Myanmar’s military regime before Hun Sen takes his turn as rotating president just to force his own will to welcome the junta leader to the red carpet to attend at Asean meetings, as he promised on Monday (December 6). Hun Sen is clearly against the consensus to isolate Hlaing.
President Jokowi must immediately consult with other ASEAN leaders, in particular Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri, to work out an ASEAN response to the court’s verdict on Suu Kyi. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte also supports Jokowi.
Indonesia should save 76-year-old Suu Kyi, not because of her contribution to the regional grouping, but for the sake of Myanmar’s 55 million people.
Ms. Suu Kyi’s defense may seem controversial given her refusal before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on December 12, 2019, of a genocide against the Rohingya minority ethnic group allegedly committed by the Burmese army.
She said the military has a credible mechanism to deal with such crimes without international interference. Less than two months later, the military launched a coup against his government.
“Sympathy for the devil. Aung San Suu Kyi allowed the genocide against the Rohingya to take place,” a senior scholar reacted on Tuesday during a discussion on Indonesia’s position on Myanmar.
But let’s forget, at least for a while, Ms. Suu Kyi’s arrogance, including her refusal to visit Indonesia and Malaysia simply because she believed the two Muslim-majority nations supported Rohingya Muslims.
Let us also forgive, again at least for the moment, the behavior of Burmese civil society organizations and even of the NUG in exile for showing little confidence in ASEAN. They are now calling for help from the regional group.
At the Asean emergency summit in April, General Hlaing – who was present in his capacity as the country’s military commander-in-chief – endorsed the five-point consensus, which called for an immediate end to violence in Myanmar, the exercise of restraint by all parties and that a constructive dialogue between all parties concerned must begin to seek a peaceful solution in the interest of the people.
Unfortunately, the family’s helping hand was not well received by the Burmese army. Access to the Asean special envoy was not provided by the military in the last few minutes before the summit, “Jokowi commented on the decision to boycott the Burmese junta leader.
As the largest member of ASEAN and the third largest democracy in the world after India and the United States, Indonesia should be on the front line to save Myanmar leader Suu Kyi and the people of the country from massacre. of the Army.
We cannot let the 10 ASEAN members become the laughing stock for stubbornly sticking to the principle of non-interference as millions face starvation and death.
President Jokowi should not let the junta rule ASEAN. It is time for Indonesia to demonstrate its leadership in ASEAN for the good of the entire population of the region. Indonesia should not let him continue to kill people who yearn for a return to democracy in Myanmar. We must also save the lives of the Rohingya and other minority groups.
- The writer is editor of the Jakarta Post. The Jakarta Post is a member of the media partner of the Straits Times Asia News Network, an alliance of 23 news media organizations.