By Lor Chandara
THE CAMBODIA DAILY
Cambodia became the sixth Asean nation Monday to form a parliamentary team aimed at pressing Burma's military junta to release pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi and deliver on reform promises to the Burmese people, officials said.
National Assembly President Heng Samrin appointed a team of 26 lawmakers to a Cambodian ad-hoc committee headed by SRP parliamentarian Son Chhay that will join the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus.
Burma, which is also known as Myanmar, has kept Aung San Suu Kyi, head of the National League for Democracy, under house arrest in Rangoon since 2003.
Son Chhay, chairman of the Assembly's foreign affairs commission, said that Cambodia's decision to join the caucus would send a strong message to Rangoon. "We parliamentarians from all political parties are united in the common goal that we want to help address the problems and we want to see changes and democratic reforms in Myanmar," Son Chhay said. "What happens there is no longer an internal matter of that country," he said.
The Burmese government's treatment of Aung San Suu Kyi and its inability to implement democratic reforms is now affecting the whole Asean bloc and hurting relations with the European Union and the US, which have implemented sanctions against Rangoon and are pushing Asean to take Rangoon to task.
Formed in 2004 in Kuala Lumpur, the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus now includes legislators from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. No parliamentarians from Brunei, Burma, Laos or Vietnam have yet joined the caucus.