JAKARTA, April 24 — In addressing the Myanmar crisis, the country needs to de-escalate the situation on the ground and stop the killing and violence against civilians, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

This is one of the three proposals put forward by Malaysia to Myanmar at the special ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting at the ASEAN Secretariat here Saturday.

“Second, to release political detainees promptly and unconditionally,” said the prime minister during intervention at the meeting, which was attended by ASEAN leaders and Senior General Min Aung Hlaing of Myanmar, the junta chief.

Third, he said, Myanmar needs to allow the ASEAN chair and ASEAN secretary-general to have access into Myanmar, including to all the parties concerned.

“Malaysia hopes that Myanmar will positively consider Malaysia’s proposals,” he said.

The Myanmar crisis takes centre stage at the meeting after the country’s military overthrew the civilian government on Feb 1 and declared a year-long state of emergency.

The coup triggered mass protests which were met with deadly violence resulting in hundreds of people being killed.

Muhyiddin said in none of the proposals made are the Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s armed forces) not part of the solution.

“We realise that the success of ASEAN’s efforts on Myanmar very much depends on the willingness of the Tatmadaw to cooperate,” he said.

Malaysia, he said, stands ready to engage constructively with all parties and galvanise efforts with all ASEAN member states towards helping Myanmar to overcome the current political crisis.

In drawing attention to the ASEAN principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other ASEAN member states, Muhyiddin said it did not mean the grouping should ignore a serious situation that jeopardises the peace, security and stability of the region.

“The principle of non-interference is not for us to hide behind; it cannot be a reason for our inaction,” he said.

The prime minister said there is a tremendous expectation on the part of the international community in how ASEAN is addressing the Myanmar issue.

“Within the ASEAN domain, constructive engagement is anchored in trust, understanding and goodwill,” he said.

Muhyiddin had a special message for the people of Myanmar.

“The people of Myanmar are the people of ASEAN, the success of Myanmar is the success of ASEAN. Most importantly, the future of Myanmar will shape the future of ASEAN. There is no denial of how important Myanmar is to ASEAN,” he said.


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