Malaysia’s Anwar, Philippines’ Marcos discuss prospect of Asean engaging informally with Myanmar

Malaysia and Asean have previously rejected any engagement with the junta.


(From left) Malaysian PM Anwar Ibrahim, Philippine First Lady Maria Louise Araneta Marcos and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, Malaysia's King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah with Queen Azizah Aminah Maimunah, and wife of Mr Anwar, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. PHOTO: REUTERS

July 27, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia on Wednesday raised the possibility of Asean allowing member countries to engage informally with the junta “without sacrificing the issue of human rights”.

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said he discussed the matter with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who is in Kuala Lumpur for bilateral meetings.

Malaysia and Asean have previously rejected any engagement with the junta, though Thailand in 2023 hosted an informal meeting with Myanmar, citing a need to maintain dialogue.

“We did touch on Myanmar to strengthen the five-point consensus of Asean but also give some flexibility… for neighbouring countries to engage on an informal basis without sacrificing the issue of human rights, and the treatment of minorities, particularly the Rohingya,” Datuk Seri Anwar said in a joint press conference with Mr Marcos.

The Philippine President did not comment on Myanmar.

Asean, which includes Myanmar among its 10 members, has pushed, without success, for the implementation of a five-point peace plan agreed with the junta shortly after a coup in early 2021.

Malaysia has been a vocal critic of the junta. Earlier in July, it urged Asean to strongly condemn the junta’s actions, including violence. REUTERS

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