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Malaysia’s Anwar says Myanmar political crisis affecting regional security

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said the ongoing crisis in Myanmar was affecting the region’s security and welfare and new ways must be found to persuade its military rulers to work with ASEAN to achieve peace. 

After meeting Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr in Manila on Wednesday, Anwar said he appreciated his counterpart’s reiteration that a five-point peace plan agreed upon between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Myanmar’s military government must be implemented. 

“…but I would certainly suggest exploring new areas how the Myanmar junta can be persuaded to work within ASEAN and resolve the outstanding issue which cannot be considered as purely internal because it is affecting the security and welfare of the region,” Anwar said.

READ MORE: Myanmar uses death sentences as a ‘tool to crush opposition’: UN

Myanmar has been beset by social, political and economic chaos since its military overthrew an elected government in 2021. 

Human rights groups and the United Nations have accused the military of carrying out atrocities as part of a crackdown on its opponents, which it says are “terrorists” seeking to destroy the country. 

ASEAN, which has a long-held principle of staying out of its members’ sovereign affairs, has grown frustrated at the military government’s lack of progress on a peace plan agreed upon with the generals shortly after the coup. 

While the 10-member bloc has barred Myanmar’s generals from attending its high-level meetings, Malaysia, a vocal critic of the junta, has called for more stringent action. The generals have reacted angrily to what it calls interference by ASEAN members.

READ MORE: UN: Myanmar junta must immediately restart democratic transition

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