Abdullah: No change in Myanmar policy

Updated On: Apr 01, 2005

Kuala Lumpur– Despite reports thatMalaysiais leading a campaign to preventMyanmarfrom taking over Asean’s chairmanship next year, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said his country had not changed its position onYangon.

Constructive engagement remains central toMalaysia’s policy in dealing withMyanmar, Mr Abdullah told reporters on March 29.

He added that there was no shift inKuala Lumpur’s position on theMyanmarissue as the Malaysian decision was based on the collective decision taken by Asean.

"We are watching the situation inMyanmarand hope to see some changes," he said.

MrAbdullah was responding to queries about a plan by the ruling Barisan Nasionalbackbenchers to forward a motion asking Asean to deferits decision of allowing Myanmar to take over the Asean chairmanship for three years beginning 2007 until democratic reforms werein place in that country.

Asked whether he was surprised by the backbenchers' move, Mr Abdullah said they had their own feelings on many issues.

"I give them leeway to make their views known but at the same time we hope they understand the policy of the government 'on the issues' at the moment," Mr Abdullah said.

InWellingtonon March 31, where he was on an official visit, Mr Abdullah told reporters that Asean remained committed to the policy of constructive engagementwithMyanmar.

“Asean members have yet to decide on how to deal with the issue,” he said, when asked about the growing opposition to handing over the Asean chair toMyanmarnext year.

* No change of stand on Myanmar, says PM (Bernama, March 29)

* Asean hasn’t taken a stand on Myanmar’s impending chairmanship (Bernama, March 31)