KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 — Malaysia does not support the elections to be held in Myanmar next year as promised by the country’s military junta, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah.

He said this was because the military junta amended some election rules that were seen as biased and not approved by other stakeholders.

Malaysia is committed to ensuring that Myanmar returns as a democratic country, to be more stable in the future.

“It is not morally right for the junta government to talk about the elections because the previous elections held in Myanmar were recognised as being largely free and fair by international observers.

“The pro-democracy group that won the previous election won big but before they could convene Parliament, the junta took over power… therefore, it is completely illogical for Malaysia and Asean to support the election,” he said at a press conference via Facebook Live.

Myanmar has been in turmoil and its economy has been crippled since the Feb 1, 2021 coup that saw elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi ousted and detained by the Myanmar military.

It thus ended democracy in the country and sparked protests across the country as well as from the international community.

Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory in Myanmar’s General Election held in November 2020, however, the military claimed fraud in the voting process thus justifying the coup.

Earlier, Saifuddin said he held a video conference with United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ant?nio Guterres who was transiting through Malaysia on his way to Bali, Indonesia to attend the Group of 20 (G20) Summit.

Saifuddin said he requested Guterres’ cooperation for the establishment of an ‘Inclusive Humanitarian Donor Forum’ involving various countries around the world as proposed by Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG) to ensure that all financial aid to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the country is presented transparently.

He said there are now many NGOs that want to channel humanitarian aid, but refused to cooperate with the Myanmar junta.

To solve the problem, Malaysia supports NUG’s proposal that a forum consisting of various countries be set up.

In the meantime, Guterres is reported to have reiterated UN’s position to help Myanmar get out of the politically unstable situation.

Political prisoners in the country also need to be released by the junta government because their detention is considered illegal, he said.

Regarding the bomb blast incident at Istiklal Avenue, Istanbul on Sunday, Saifuddin said there were no reports of Malaysians affected by the explosion that claimed six lives and injured 88 others so far.

He advised Malaysians to be always careful and not to go near the affected areas and to contact the representative offices in Ankara and Istanbul if emergency assistance is needed. — Bernama