The Malaysian government defended itself on Thursday from heavy criticism after an online video showed the Kuala Lumpur ambassador in Naypyidaw meeting a Myanmar military minister, which had killed hundreds of people in protests in support of post-coup democracy.
In a statement responding to questions from the media, Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that the meeting took place a day earlier at the Myanmar Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MOEE). It said Ambassador Zahairi Baharim had been there for the meeting, but stated unnamed Minister of Electricity and Energy Aung Than Oo.
He was also seen in the video, which went viral on social media and made allegations that this showed Malaysia recognized Myanmar’s military regime, which toppled a second democratically elected government. last month.
“The meeting did not create recognition or in other words the State Management Council (SAC),” said Malaysia’s foreign affairs office, referring to the government by its official name.
As of Thursday, at least 614 protesters have been killed by military and government security forces across Myanmar since the February 1 coup, according to information released by the Political Prisoners Support Association, an integrated, non-governmental Thai organization.
“Malaysia’s stance towards Myanmar is clear and consistent,” said the statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“We have steadfastly called for an immediate end to violence, the immediate and unconditional release of political detainees, and resumed integration dialogue with all stakeholders for a major transformation. governance and peaceful settlement of the ongoing crisis for the benefit of Myanmar and the people of Myanmar, “it said.
The meeting was held to announce the decision of a subsidiary of Petronas, Malaysia’s state oil and gas company, to suspend a gas project in Myanmar, the statement said.
“The decision was made after the supply capacity challenges of the wells that resulted in production rates falling below the technical threshold of an offshore gas treatment plant,” Petronas said in a statement dated May 2. 4.
The State Department’s statement on Thursday reflected Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s comments on March 19, when he urged Myanmar’s military leaders to change their views.
“Once again, Malaysia reiterates our consistent call for all stakeholders to work together towards a peaceful settlement of this crisis. We will continue to support a comprehensive dialogue for a political transition, and urge all sides to return to the negotiating table, overcome the crisis and avoid any escalation of tensions. more “, Mr. Muhyiddin said at the time.
“I was appalled by the continued use of lethal violence against unarmed civilians, resulting in high numbers of deaths and injuries, and suffering nationwide. There is no question about it – the use of real bullets against peaceful protests is unacceptable, ”he said.
Muhyiddin also called on Myanmar authorities to unconditionally release political leaders, including civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and others who have been in custody since. their cover was overthrown.
The government has declared a year-long emergency after toppling Suu Kyi’s government, democratically elected last November.
Malaysians and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) joined world leaders in calling for peace in Myanmar and unconditional release of Ms. Suu Kyi and others. .
Earlier this week, the presidents of ASEAN Brunei as well as Malaysia announced that a special meeting of top regional leaders will take place in Indonesia to discuss the Myanmar crisis, but is yet to be determined. which date.
Myanmar is one of the 10 members of ASEAN.
The video of Wednesday’s meeting sparked social media in Malaysia.
“Does Malaysia recognize the SAC terrorists as a legitimate government? @MuhyiddinYassin, ”according to a Twitter post aimed at the prime minister.
Members of the opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition also criticized the meeting.
“The meeting between the Malaysian ambassador and the Myanmar military has created the perception that Malaysia has recognized the Myanmar government,” coalition member of the People’s Justice Party, Parti Amanah Negara and the Democratic Action Party said in a statement. common father.
Washington announced new sanctions
Meanwhile, on Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken announced sanctions against Myanma Gems Enterprise, a division of the country’s mining ministry, as he called for the military and force. Myanmar’s security stopped all violence against peaceful protesters.
“By imposing targeted sanctions on this entity, we are sending a clear signal to the military that the United States will continue to increase pressure on the regime’s revenues until When it ended the violence, freed all those who were unjustly detained, martial law and the state of Blinken said in a statement.
Reported by BenarNews, an online news service affiliated with RFA.