Malaysia, Relations with

   After the State Law and Order Restoration Council seized power in September 1988, Malaysia's prime minister, Mahathir bin Mohammad, promoted close bilateral relations, including substantial foreign investment (US$600 million by the end of the 1990s) and trade, sponsorship of Burma's successful 1997 bid to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and strong criticism of Western countries for allegedly interfering in Burma's and the Association's internal affairs by opposing the country's ASEAN membership. Critical of Western sanctions, Mahathir argued that "constructive engagement" was more effective in encouraging democratic change. His close associate, diplomat Razali Ismail (formally acting under the authority of United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan) traveled many times to Rangoon (Yangon) between 2000 and 2003 to promote dialogue between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the military regime. However, the "Black Friday" Incident of May 30, 2003, caused even the Malaysian prime minister to criticize the regime for its intransigence. In June 2005, on the occasion of the 60th birthday of Daw Suu Kyi, Mahathir called on the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to release her from house arrest. It is unclear how Malaysia's Burma policy has changed under his successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, but Anwar Ibrahim, a prominent opposition leader who was jailed by Mahathir in 1998 but later released, has called for a tougher policy toward the military regime.
   One delicate issue in the bilateral relationship has been the SPDC's treatment of Burma's Muslim minority, especially Rohingyas, an estimated 10,000 of whom have become refugees in Malaysia.
   See also

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.