Malaysian Ambassador’s Meeting With Junta Member ‘Not Recognition’: Kuala Lumpur
By The Irrawaddy 9 April 2021
The Malaysian Foreign Ministry said a meeting between the Malaysian ambassador to Myanmar and a member of the military regime’s cabinet did not constitute recognition of the junta as the legitimate government of its fellow ASEAN member.
Wednesday’s meeting between the regime’s electricity and energy minister, U Aung Than Oo, and Ambassador Datuk Zahairi Baharim prompted criticism among democracy supporters in Myanmar that Malaysia had recognized the junta.
Myanmar regime-controlled newspapers claimed the two sides discussed further cooperation in the electricity and energy sector and bilateral investment opportunities.
In response to the criticism, Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday said the meeting was held to convey Malaysian company Petronas’s decision to temporarily suspend the upstream operations of the Yetagun gas field in the Andaman Sea off Myanmar.
In early April, PC Myanmar (Hong Kong) Ltd (PCML), a subsidiary of Petronas, invoked force majeure at the Yetagun project, citing the depletion of gas production at the field.
The Malaysian Foreign Ministry said that “the meeting does not construe a recognition or otherwise of the State Administration Council (SAC),” the military regime’s governing body formed by the coup leaders after their power seizure on Feb. 1.
“Malaysia’s position on Myanmar is clear and consistent,” it said.
“We have persistently called for an immediate end to violence, unconditional and immediate release of political detainees, and resumption of an inclusive dialogue involving all concerned parties for a political transition and peaceful settlement of the ongoing crisis in the interest of Myanmar and her people,” the ministry said.
“Malaysia will continue its constructive engagements with all concerned parties towards this end,” it added.
Malaysia, a key member of ASEAN, has called on other member countries to get more involved in resolving the crisis in Myanmar, which has witnessed increasingly deadly crackdowns on anti-regime protesters. Recently, Malaysia and Brunei announced that the bloc had agreed to convene an emergency meeting in Jakarta to address the crisis in Myanmar.
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